Tencent Adds Two Slots in King Pro League, All Gamers Secures Series A Investment

On Monday the Tencent Global Esports Summit concluded at the Hainan Bo Ao Asia International Conference Center. The summit is Tencent’s annual esports business conference, and 2020 is the fourth year of Tencent’s “Esports Golden Five Year” plan.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and China’s border policy, Tencent decreased the size of the invitation (The Esports Observer was the only overseas esports business publication on the media list this year). but more than a thousand Chinese esports executives, leaders, professionals, witnessed this year’s summit.

The summit discussed various topics around China’s esports industry, including “Esports and Olympics,” “Esports talent training development,” and details on future plans for Honor of Kings, League of Legends, Peacekeeper Elite, CrossFire, and QQ Speed esports.

Mark Ren, COO of Tencent; Edward Cheng, vice president of Tencent and Global Esports Federation (GEF);  and Mars Hou, general manager of Tencent Esports, gave speeches at the summit. In addition, Tencent Esports also released its newest “Global Esports Industry Development Report,” in partnership with Penguin Intelligence, GEF, and Nielsen.

Among the top stories in China’s esports industry: Tencent Esports added two flexible slots in King Pro League; Tencent Esports signed partnership deals with China Unicom 5G, Shanghai Juss Sports, and VSPN to add 5G technology into a large-scale esports venue; and Chinese esports organization All Gamers raised undisclosed multimillion-dollar Series A investment. 

Tencent Esports Changes Tournament Structure of King Pro League, Adds Two Flexible Slots to the League

Allan Zhang, the chief brand officer of Honor of Kings and president of King Pro League (KPL) Union, announced at the summit that the company decided to add two flexible slots in KPL. The original Honor of Kings international competition, King Pro League Global Tour (KPLGT) will move into KPL G-League (KGL), the development league of KPL. 

The flexible slots and the structure of Honor of Kings esports are as follows:

  • Top tournaments: Honor of Kings World Champion Cup and Honor of Kings Winter Champion Cup.
  • Tier two tournaments: KPL, including 16 original KPL teams, and two KPL flexible teams. 
  • Tier three tournaments: KGL, including the original KGL teams, KPLGT teams, and top teams from tier four tournaments.
  • Tier four tournaments: Honor of Kings National Championship and KPLGT Open. 

In the structure of Honor of Kings esports, the relegation rule will exist between the two KPL flexible slots and KGL, as well as KGL and tier four tournaments. The original 16 KPL teams will be not affected by the relegation rule. 

“We want to motivate the grassroots level of Honor of Kings [KGL and Tier four touranments], and let more teams and partners to get involved in top Honor of Kings esports,” Zhang told The Esports Observer concerning the reason KPL Union added two flexible slots in the system. “…the original fixed slots in KPL could maintain the stability of development for teams, but sixteen teams in the KPL was actually not enough considering how significant a presence Honor of Kings has in China.” 

Tencent Partners With VSPN, China Unicom, and Shanghai Juss Sports for Stadium 5G Infrastructure

Mars Hou, general manager of Tencent Esports announced during the summit that the company has signed partnership deals with Chinese telecommunications giant China Unicom, tournament organizer VSPN, and Shanghai Juss Sports. The four will build 5G infrastructure in Shanghai Juss Sports’ Shanghai Eastern Sports Center (SESC), and make it become China’s first 5G large-scale esports venue. 

Hou said that the 5G infrastructure will be completed at SESC at the end of this year, and will be used during the Peacekeeper Elite Championship (PEC) taking place Nov. 13-15. 

Also during the summit, Yong Zhang, executive director and president of China Information Technology Consulting and Design Institute Co, Ltd, gave a speech on how 5G will change the landscape of esports, and expressed confidence in China’s 5G infrastructure. 

“5G’s features, large bandwidth, low delay, and more connections will change our lives in the future,” Zhang said, adding that “it will improve the quality of esports broadcasting, and make the competition more competitive due to low delay.”

All Gamers Secures Series A Investment, Led by Real Power Capital 

On Aug. 22 Chengdu-based esports organization All Gamers (AG) secured an undisclosed “multimillion-dollar” Series A investment round, led by Shanghai’s Real Power Capital. The investment is to strengthen its business operation in Shanghai, and support the city in becoming the global esports center. 

Xin Wang, president of Real Power Capital stated that China’s positive esports policies are one of the main reasons the company eyes on the esports industry. 

AG was founded in 2016, and competes in Honor of Kings, League of Legends, Peacekeeper Elite, and QQ Speed. The organization owns a slot in KPL as well.

Other Esports Business News:

  • On Aug.21 Bilibili Esports signed a partnership deal with Chinese music copyright distribution platform VFineMusic. The companies will explore possibilities to improve standardization and generalization of music copyrights in the esports industry. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Tencent Esports and the Global Esports Federation (GEF) partnered on a new project called the #worldconnected initiative at the summit. The initiative is designed to build a bridge between esports and sports.
  • Tencent Esports will invest ¥100M RMB ($14.5M USD) in boosting the esports ecosystem of Peacekeeper Elite, including a $2M global championship competition called “G-League.”
  • Chinese social media company Weibo acquired Honor of Kings team TS Gaming, and short-form video company Kuaishou acquired Honor of Kings team TYG. Both teams will retain their franchising slots in KPL.
  • TJ Sports unveiled a new financial fair regulation in League of Legends Pro League (LPL) for limiting player salaries. The company also teased two more global partners for the 2020 League of Legends World Championship.
  • Tencent Esports unveiled its first batch of franchising partners, including Razer, ASUS, massager brand SKG, apparel company Kappa, and Canadian fast-food restaurant chain Tim Hortons. All brands will produce Tencent Esports co-branded products.

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