Mentioned in this article
- The 2019 World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) took place in Shanghai August 29-31, with industry leaders including Tesla’s Elon Musk, Alibaba’s Jack Ma, and Tencent’s Pony Ma attending.
- Tencent CEO Pony Ma said the company will fully support Shanghai’s goal of becoming a global esports city, with plans for six large tournament series.
- Pony Ma briefly mentioned that the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center is the company’s choice for an esports stadium, after consulting with partner Juss Sports.
On August 29, the 2019 World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) was officially opened in the Chinese city of Shanghai. More than 100 industry leaders attended this event, including Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla; Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group; and Pony Ma (no relation), the CEO and chairman of Tencent. During this conference, Artificial Intelligence (AI) was widely discussed by those three company leaders, but Pony Ma also briefly touched upon esports and its place in Shanghai:
“We [Tencent] will fully support Shanghai to become the global esports city. Tencent’s six esports tournament series [League of Legends, Honor of Kings, Peacekeeper Elite, CrossFire, FIFA 4 Online, and QQ Speed] have taken place in Shanghai. Also, over 50 Tencent related esports organizations have set up offices in the city.”
In addition, Pony Ma added that Tencent had partnered with state-owned organizer and promoter Juss Sports, and had certificated the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center as an esports recommended stadium.
While Tencent did not provide details beyond expressing support for Shanghai’s esports plans for the city, its public display of support during a major international conference is viewed as an important indicator of the company’s commitment.
The concept of “building a global esports city” was demonstrated by the Shanghai government in June of this year. According to the policy, Shanghai plans to achieve this goal in three to five years, by focusing on four areas:
- Esports content creation and technology development.
- Esports infrastructure, including tournament systems, media, and venues.
- Esports professional education.
- Esports sustainable ecosystem development.
Not only has Tencent giving its support to Shanghai, but so has rival Chinese game publisher NetEase. On August 3, NetEase announced it plans to invest over ¥5B RMB ($710M USD) to build the “NetEase Esports Park” in the Shanghai Qingpu District. Multiple projects will be developed, related to product design, venues, team development, talent construction, and user experiences.