SHANGHAI, March 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Chinese e-Sports company FEG was established in Shanghai in July 2018, just nine months ago, at which time all of the top Chinese game publishers, including Tencent, NetEase and Perfect World, had each already established business units solely dedicated to e-Sports. Against such a backdrop, the question that immediately arose was, how did FEG expect to differentiate itself from the established players? And, how did the company manage to complete over US$10 million in financing at its initial stage? Finally, what does the landscape look like for the Asian and Chinese e-Sports markets?
King of Glory ("KOG") a multiplayer online battle arena developed and published by Tencent Games for mobile platforms, has two league systems globally: King Pro League (KPL) in China and KRKPL in South Korea. KPL is 100 per cent owned by Tencent Games while KRKPL is jointly owned by Tencent Games and FEG which owns 70 per cent of commercial rights of the league system. FEG is currently the world's only third-party e-Sports firm to have ownership in the top e-Sports league. In March 2019, KRKPL was upgraded to an international e-Sports league featuring 10 teams, including teams from the United States, Europe, Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea and several Southeast Asian countries and regions.
Asia has played an important role in the development of e-Sports as it is where the sport originated. Over the past more than 10 years, numerous outstanding players from South Korea and China have made great contributions to the prosperity of the sector. In addition, collective efforts on the part of a large number of practitioners in the sector have laid a sound foundation for the sector's growth, despite the sector finding itself in an awkward position within the confines of traditional Asian culture. Notably, China is expected to become the world's e-Sports hub as the country has witnessed rapid growth in the number of its e-Sports fans and the gradual commercialization of the sport. According to a report previously issued by iResearch Consulting on the development of the Chinese e-Sports market between 2015 and 2019, the country's revenue from e-sports-related games has exceeded US$12 billion, with the number of Chinese e-Sports fans exceeding 250 million. Besides, Chinese viewers of e-Sports have outnumbered those of traditional sports events. According to data from China's three major cloud service providers, the country recorded over 16 million peak concurrent users (PCUs) during the 2018 League of Legends (LOL) final, compared to less than 9 million for the 2018 NBA Finals, with the number of daily viewers of the e-Sports event triple that for the basketball one. Nevertheless, LOL is still not the number one online game competition in China in terms of viewer numbers. The content of KOG's professional league of KPL (including videos, photos and news) was viewed 17 billion times for the whole of last year, with the final alone garnering 300 million views online.
FEG's mission goes beyond creating the world's biggest e-Sports alliance
After just six months since its founding, FEG has become a true "dark horse" in the Chinese e-Sports community following expansion into international markets. In addition to creating KRKPL, FEG has also put in place a strategic expansion plan for the Asian e-Sports market.
In November 2018, FEG held the Fighting League-PUBM Mobile in Vietnam, India, Thailand and Indonesia, gaining recognition from local e-Sports fans and receiving attention from local e-Sports associations. After the event, FEG signed agreements to export Chinese e-Sports culture to the four Asian countries, along with the company's expertise in managing e-Sports clubs and experience in operating professional e-Sports events in China and South Korea, with the aim of jointly creating an Asian e-Sports alliance with significant potential business value.
FEG now has 10 Chinese and South Korean partners, including the former founders of China's biggest game TV channel, Asia's largest sports events broadcaster and China's largest game broker as well as the former business strategy director of the Korea e-Sports Association.
FEG has formed partnerships in 12 Asian countries, establishing an e-Sports alliance in the region with FEG as the core member. One cannot really say whether the Asian e-Sports alliance can be regarded as the NBA, NFL, MLB or NHL in the e-Sports sector yet it is predictable that the alliance will have meaningful sway over the 1.238 billion e-Sports fans accounting for some 16.3 per cent of the world's population. Among the huge number of fans, how many people will fall in love with each other because of their common passion for e-Sports and how many players will become leaders in the sector after standing out at FEG's talent shows?
With the coming of the new era in which e-Sports increasingly gains in reputation worldwide, FEG is building a business empire by creating superstars for the global e-Sports market.