China’s first esports-themed shopping complex has launched in Shanghai’s Putuo District. The ESP eSports Experience Center is home to a professional esports arena as well as virtual reality (VR) gaming, according to Shine.
The ESP eSports Experience Center reportedly covers 36,000 square metres and will be the main host for the Honor of Kings competition, an online battle arena developed by TiMi Studios and published by Tencent Games.
The East China regional competition of the King Pro League is also expected be held at the venue, which will host more than 350 games a year (via Esports Venue Summit).
ESP eSports Experience Center
Putuo District is home to more than 20 esports companies, including the IMBA eSports Center at Global Harbor Mall. These additions are contributing to Shanghai’s goal to become the global esports capital.
These include the International Innovation Center of Tsinghua University Shanghai, an innovation centre on 5G technology and smart vehicles, and the ESP eSports Experience Center.
Earlier this year, SuperGen Group broke ground on a $1.5bn esports complex in Shanghai. The first phase of the project, set to cost $770 million, is expected to be completed by 2023.
Esports in Shanghai’s Putuo District
Tencent, the world’s largest video games company by revenue, is also looking to expand its presence in China with a billion-dollar esports arena.
“Esports is like the Super Bowl, which isn’t just a sport event but also a vehicle of art and entertainment,” said Leo Lin, CEO of TJ Sports.
TJ Sports was established by Tencent to organise and encourage competitive gaming across China. “We are going for the direction of connecting esports with our games and wider entertainment business,” Lin added.