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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 4th June

Here’s the biggest news from China over the past seven days.

📰 Headlines: China’s World Cup qualifiers move, a crackdown on running, MLB springs in 5 cities, breakdancing breaks the mold, VSPN raises again, a badminton trio inducted, and a report on China’s burgeoning gaming industry.

🗞️ Top Industry News

Sharjah to Host China’s Remaining World Cup Qualifiers Due to COVID-19 disruptions in teams within China’s group, their remaining three matches have shifted away from Suzhou to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. China recently beat Guam 7-0 in front of 30K home fans, but won’t have the luxury of home fans for the rest of the qualifying stage. Read more on SCMP (English) and CCTV (Chinese)

China Cracks Down on Extreme Events China’s General Administration of Sport has suspended extreme sports and long-distance running events, following the deaths of 21 runners at a recent ultramarathon event. A huge blow for the sector, as China Daily reported that the number of marathons and ultramarathons in the country increased from 22 in 2011 to 1.8K in 2019. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Chinanews (Chinese) MLB Cup Open Spring Season Launches Across 5 Cities

The events were held in Shanghai, Nanchang, Qingdao, Chongqing and Xi'an, where 1.5K youth players participated. Together with MLB First Pitch Clinic school program & Development Centers, MLB has developed a talent nurturing system in China. Among the 7 Chinese players signed by the Minor League, 6 have played in MLB’s youth tournament. Read more on Wenhui (Chinese)

Breaking Down Barriers With the introduction of new regulations from China's General Administration of Sport, breakdancing has been listed as an official competitive sport for the 14th National Games of the People's Republic of China, the country's biggest national sport gala. Read more on Global Times (English) and CCTV (Chinese)

NBA Stars Urged to End China Endorsements A U.S. congressional commission called on NBA stars to end endorsements of Chinese sportswear brands that use cotton grown in Xinjiang. Some NBA players reportedly had deals with ANTA, Li-Ning and Peak prior to recent Western media articles saying the companies had backed the continued use of Xinjiang cotton. Read more on Reuters (English) and Huanqiu (Chinese) Chinese Trio Inducted into Badminton Hall of Fame Olympic gold medalists Zhang Ning, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng from China have been inducted into the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Hall of Fame. The trio will be officially recognised at a virtual ceremony and media event on June 16. Read more on Yahoo! (English) and Sohu (Chinese)

🎮 Esports VSPN Closes Multi-Million Dollar Round B2 The Chinese esports solutions provider’s funding round was led by Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia (MSPEA). The funding will be utilised for the expansion of VSPN’s global business and the development of the esports content matrix around VSPN+. Read more on Esports Observer (English) and ECO Sports (Chinese)

TJ Sports Sees OPPOrtunity The deal with OPPO covers all Wild Rift esports competitions in China, not just the “WPL.” The deal between OPPO and TJ Sports for Wild Rift will start from June 2021 until H1 2023. Read more on Esports Observer (English) and Sina (Chinese)

🖊️ Opinion Can Naturalized Athletes Save China’s Sporting Dreams? Naturalized players are the result of a wider state program initiated in 2015 to help the country qualify for its first World Cup since 2002. But with the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games just around the corner, soccer is not the only sport taking advantage of naturalization to boost the nation’s trophy hopes. Read the opinion piece on Sixth Tone (English)

📓 Reports Niko Partners: China’s Game Market Will Hit $55B and 781M Gamers by 2025 The report showed that mobile is by far the bright spot over PC gaming. China’s domestic mobile game revenue was $29.2B in 2020, up 30.9% from a year earlier. This is the highest annual growth rate for China’s domestic mobile game revenue since 2017. Read the full report on Niko Partners (English)

🗞️ Other News Three’s No Longer a Crowd Following a steep decline in birth rates, China at first scrapped its decades-old one-child policy in 2016, replacing it with a two-child limit. Now that limit has been extended to three. The latest move was approved by President Xi Jinping at a meeting of top Communist Party officials. Read more on BBC (English) and Chinanews (Chinese)

Tencent Sued Over 'Inappropriate' Honor of Kings Content

A Chinese public-interest group is suing Tencent over what it alleges is inappropriate content for minors in the developer's flagship video game, Honor of Kings. Beijing Teenagers Law Aid And Research Center said it filed the lawsuit in a Beijing court, to mark the implementation of an amended protection of minors law. Read more on Reuters (English) and jiemian (Chinese)


Branded’s Back, All Right! Music, Sport, Gaming, Digital & Marketing Matters WILL happen in 2021, but will take the form of bespoke, single track in person/hybrid events designed to maximise conversation and connections across the industries. Read more on Branded (English)


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