A growing number of multinational companies are foraying into China’s esports sector, vying for a piece of the booming market topping the world with more than 20 billion US dollars in revenue and hundreds of millions of avid players.
Global furniture retail giant IKEA on Friday crossed into the gaming world by debuting its home furnishings collection designed for esports gamers, including tables, chairs, storage boxes, and other accessories, in Shanghai.
The custom products are available for online and offline purchase in the Chinese mainland before launching in other markets.
The global debut of the collection in Shanghai demonstrates IKEA’s confidence in the Chinese market, according to the company.
Anna Pawlak-Kuliga, CEO and President of IKEA China, said the company hopes to create a more comfortable and healthy gaming experience for gamers in China and around the world with the new collection.
China’s esports market has won global attention with its exponential growth in recent years.
Its revenue surged 44.16 percent from 94.73 billion yuan (about 14.63 billion US dollars) in 2019 to 136.56 billion yuan in 2020, while the number of esports players across the country grew 9.65 percent year on year to hit 488 million last year, according to a report released jointly by the game publishing working committee of the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association and the China Game Industry Development Research Institute.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has attracted droves of new fans who have spent more time and money on esports games in the empty hours of lockdown and isolation.
Market research company iResearch predicted continued growth in China’s esports market, whose revenue is estimated to reach 165.14 billion yuan in 2021.
Thanks to its growing popularity and market size, China’s esports sector has been attracting a flood of domestic and overseas investment. Many companies like IKEA have crossed over from their traditional businesses into the esports sector.
Earlier this month, German optical systems and optoelectronics manufacturer ZEISS signed a partnership deal with Invictus Gaming, a Chinese esports organization, to explore optical solutions to improve the visual performance of professional esports players and gamers.
A string of Chinese companies including Tencent, NetEase, and Perfect World have also increased their manpower and financial input in the sector in recent years.
Xu Bo, executive deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai E-sports Association, said that China’s esports industry has gathered a large group of young consumers with strong consumption power, making it an inevitable trend that companies in related industries will cross over into the gaming sector.
“As the most important market in the global esports industry, China will bring immense opportunities to related industries worldwide and attract more multinational companies to tap into the sector,” Xu added.
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