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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 18th August

Hello Industry Friends, here is the very latest news and insights from China. 📰 Headlines: James Harden’s livestream success, iQiyi partners with Douyin, village volleyball is the next rural craze, Huya sub-licenses UFC rights, gaming restrictions struggle to curb addiction, live streaming attracts young hopefuls, and all the biggest esports news from China.

 

🗞️ Top Industry News Chinese Fans Buy 10k Bottles of James Harden’s Wine in 14 Seconds The NBA star was shocked after his Chinese fans bought 10k bottles of his personal brand of wine in just 14 seconds. The 33-year-old joined a live stream on social media with local influencer Xiao Yang, who wanted to show the Philadelphia 76ers guard how quickly they could sell out his new product. Read more on CNN (English) and Sohu (Chinese) 💡 Mailman’s Take: Ecommerce and live streaming continue to play major roles for Chinese consumers. With NBA players currently visiting China for the time since 2019, influence certainly has not waned one bit. The combination of a popular ecommerce live streamer with James Harden physically on the stream was a surefire win, however don’t overlook that China is now one of the largest wine-consumption countries in the world as well. IQiyi’s Shinai Sports Partners with Douyin This is the first time a digital sports broadcast platform has officially cooperated with Douyin. iQiyi, which owns the exclusive media rights in China to competitions such as the EPL and the UEFA Champions League, will allow its content to be streamed on Shinai’s official Douyin account on a weekly basis. Read more on NetEase (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: This is a significant partnership and one we expect to continue for years to come, as both companies aren’t direct rivals and see clear value in partnering in business together. Given the unwillingness of some sports fans to purchase season-long passes, mixed with the fact Douyin’s audiences allow Shinai to reach a much larger audience, this move makes sense for both sides, allowing another revenue stream whilst gaining more customers. We’ve already seen the appetite grow from sports fans to watch live sport on Douyin, with the Qatar FIFA World Cup and summer of football friendlies racking up large viewership on the platform.


 

Volleyball Ignites Latest Rural Sports Passion in Hainan Following China's Village Basketball Competition and Village Super League, village volleyball has become the latest sports fever arising from China's countryside. The one-and-half-month volleyball league in Hainan took the province by storm, as the event brought together 20 teams from towns and villages, whose players include farmers, fishermen, migrant workers, teachers and middle school students. Read more on Xinhua (English) and Xinhua (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: Another month, another village sport emerges in rural China, enticing millions of fans to come and watch. The village sports craze shows no signs of slowing down, either, and as we witnessed with NBA stars this summer, they’re keen to get involved and see what all the fuss is about. There’s no telling just how big, and how many iterations of village sport there may be, but one thing is for sure and that’s that it’s here to stay. Huya Sub-licenses UFC Rights from Migu Huya, a Chinese streaming platform better known for its esports content, has sub-licensed UFC rights in mainland China from the exclusive rights holder and home of UFC, Migu. Ahead of Zhang Weili’s title defense this weekend at UFC 292 in Boston, Huya will broadcast all UFC events, including UFC 292, using their own feed. As one of the most popular and fastest-growing sports organisations in China, UFC rights will likely prove a smart move by Huya to diversify and grow its audience base. Read more on Ecosports (Chinese)


 

Study Finds China’s Restrictions Have Not Reduced Excessive Gaming The study, which was led by computer scientists at the University of York, reported “no credible evidence” for the reduction of heavy playtime – classed as spending more than 4 hours per day, 6 days per week playing video games – as a result of the strict regulations in China. The researchers analysed playtime data from over 2bn individual Chinese gaming profiles from August 2019 to January 2020, corresponding to the period during which the government introduced its first gaming restrictions. Read more on DAO (English) and NetEase (Chinese) Witness the Fitness as Nation Shapes a Healthier Future The success of the first National Sports Publicity Week (Aug 7-13) encouraged millions of people across China to get off the sofa and get active. As part of China's national fitness campaign, numerous online and offline grassroots activities were organised across the country. On Aug 8's National Fitness Day alone, over 6.5m people took part in more than 24k exercise activities. Read more on China Daily (English) and China Economic Network (Chinese) China's Livestreaming Attracts Young Hopefuls as Competition Grows A survey of more than 10k young people on Weibo last month found that more than 60% of them said they would be interested in working as internet influencers or livestreaming hosts. The livestreaming industry employed 1.23m hosts as of 2020, according to iResearch, and a pandemic era boom in livestream sales helped the industry to generate $480bn in business in China last year. Read more on Yahoo! (English) and Tencent (Chinese) Fitness Giant Keep Joins Forces with Blockbuster Fengshen The Chinese fitness platform jumped at the hit movie Fengshen to initiate an online running event. The digital initiative coincided with the “Keep 88 Sports Festival”; a campaign dedicated to National Fitness Day with a focus on offline activities. Leveraging its revenue generator - Keep medal system, two “exclusively crafted” medals featuring key characters of the film have been introduced to spur participation. Read more on DAO (English

 

🎮 Esports China Esports Blast - July Last month was significant as Tencent and the Shenzhen government revealed multiple esports plans at the Tencent Global Esports Summit. Among the top stories in July: Riot Games announced it will hold the Valorant Champions Tour Masters in Shanghai in 2024; esports will continue to be an official medal sport at the 2026 edition of the Asian Games; and the Shenzhen government unveiled a three-year benefit policy for developing esports in the Chinese city. Read more on Esports Insider (English)


 

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