Alibaba signed an agreement this week with Singapore-based social networking firm YuuZoo to run the firm’s e-sports events in China, kicking off at the end of April and which will offer a total of $5.5 million in prize money. The partnership is planning to launch 1,200 eSports events this year across 15 cities in China.
E-sports are competitive video games played by skilled computer-gamers who compete with each other. Fans watch the games either live or over the web. Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are among the games that will be part of the tournament. The ultrapopular League of Legends have been excluded from the games, probably since it is owed by Alibaba’s rival, TenCent.
Alibaba is one of China’s largest Internet companies and last year made a record $1 billion revenue in eight minutes. AliSports, the Chinese tech company’s newly established sports branch, was set up in September last year. The business was built to create an internet-enabled platform which could participate in different areas of the professional sporting industry, such as sports media, events and broadcasting.
Promoting health and fitness is a recent national agenda in China, with the government announcing plans over the last few years to develop the sports industry.