Wuhan to Host Worlds 2021 Knockout Stage, Tencent Faces Backlash for Copyright Strikes on Douyin 

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With Winter and the end of 2020 in sight, China’s esports industry saw a slowdown in brand partnerships and sponsorships. Making things worse, the industry slowdown might be extended beyond the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic in Shanghai. 

From Nov. 20-22, Shanghai reported six new COVID-19 infection cases, all from Pudong District, and five of them worked in Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG). On Nov. 22, the Shanghai government launched an emergency following the COVID-19 confirmation, testing over 17K people in the PVG, and receiving one positive case, according to stated-own publication People’s Daily. On Nov. 25, China recognized the Shanghai Pudong District as a “medium risk area.”

Shanghai plays a significant role in China’s esports industry, as the government is expecting to make the city become a “global esports center.” In fact, more than half of Chinese esports companies are headquartered in Shanghai, including production company VSPN, ImbaTV, Mars Media, Edward Gaming (EDG), Vici Gaming (VG), and QGHappy, among others. 

Over the past month, Shanghai successfully hosted two global-scale esports tournaments: the League of Legends World Championship (Worlds 2020), and the Peacekeeper Elite Championship (PEC), both in Pudong District.

Among the top stories in China’s esports industry: the Wuhan city government is confirmed to host the Worlds 2021 knockout stage; Tencent faced backlash for copyright strikes against Dota 2 and World of Warcraft videos on Douyin; DouYu signed a strategic partnership with Wuhan University of Technology to develop live streaming technology; and TOP Esports League of Legends players appeared in the Audi booth at the Guangzhou International Motor Show Audi booth. 

Wuhan to Host 2021 LoL World Championship Knockout Stage

Pictured: Wuhan lit up the Yellow Crane Tower for 2017 League of Legends World Championship. Credit: Riot Games/Tencent

On Nov. 22, the Wuhan government released its esports plan on its official WeChat platform “Wuhan Release,” mentioning that the city will host the knockout stage of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship (Worlds 2021). 

“Wuhan is currently reaching out to game publishers like Tencent to host global esports competitions. Meanwhile, the knockout stage of Worlds 2021 will be hosted in Wuhan,” according to the announcement. 

In addition, the announcement mentioned Wuhan will invest ¥10B RMB ($1.52B USD) to build an “esports industrial foundation,” in conjunction with anime, gaming, film, and music industries. 

Wuhan was widely known in the West because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As highlighted in TEO’s previous article, The Esports Story of Wuhan, China hosted the League of Legends World Championship for the first time in 2017. Wuhan was the city to host the group stage of the tournament, and first lit up the Yellow Crane Tower to promote the event. The city also has several connections with the Chinese esports industry as the home of esports organization eStar Gaming and live streaming platform DouYu.

TJ Sports and Riot Games have not confirmed this information, at the time of writing. The Esports Observer has reached out to TJ Sports for more information. 

Tencent Faces Backlash for Dota 2 and World of WarCraft Content Strikes on Chinese TikTok

Credit: Tencent

On Nov. 24, Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok owned by ByteDance, released a statement on Weibo regarding as the official feedback to users who complained about their non-Tencent related game content such as Dota 2 and World of WarCraft (WoW) removed by Tencent

Dota 2 and WoW are not developed or authorized by Tencent; Dota 2 is developed by Valve, and authorized to Perfect World as the exclusive distributor in China. WoW is developed by Blizzard Entertainment, and authorized by NetEase in China.

“After an internal investigation, we confirmed that the copyright reports were initiated by Tencent,” Douyin said in its statement. “Our staff failed to identify if the reported contents belong to Tencent’s intellectual property, due to massive reports initiated by Tencent. Some related videos were taken down on mistake.”

In addition, Douyin also mentioned that Tencent clarified that the company owns the copyright and authorization of the content if it includes the footage of Tencent-owned games, such as League of Legends, Honor of Kings, or Peacekeeper Elite. 

“We don’t agree with Tencent’s proposition, but we need to obey the law,” Douyin said. “We hope Tencent could also check the contents before reporting, as well as respect different users and gamers.”

Since 2019, Tencent has issued injunctions against ByteDance’s Douyin and Xigua video platforms, prohibiting unauthorized Honor of Kings and League of Legends videos on these platforms.

The Esports Observer has reached out to Tencent for comment, and will update the article if we receive a response.

DouYu Partners With Wuhan University of Technology

Credit: DouYu

On Nov.23, Chinese live streaming platform DouYu signed a strategic partnership deal with the Wuhan University of Technology to develop live streaming technology in eight areas, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and a live streaming risk recognition algorithm, among other things.

Wuhan-based DouYu was actually the first unicorn internet company in the city. In 2016, DouYu raised a $100M Series B funding round, led by Tencent, and reached a company valuation of $1B. Now, DouYu is expected to merge with Huya in 2021.

Other Esports Business News

Credit: TOP Esports
  • China’s League of Legends operator TJ Sports has signed a partnership deal with Chinese internet cafe brand Wanyoo for the League of Legends collegiate esports league in China. Over 400 Wanyoo’s internet cafes in China will serve as the competing venue for the league, covering over 80 cities and 2K colleges. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Four members of the TOP Esports (TES) League of Legends team, including Yu “Jackeylove” Wenbo, attended fans-engagement activities Tuesday at Guangzhou International Motor Show FAW-Audi booth. FAW-Audi is TES’ official automobile sponsor.

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