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Message: Esports to add $8bn to Chinese domestic games revenue by 2023

Niko Partners report shows mobile esports game revenue doubling by 2023, when Chinese domestic market will top $41 billion

Matthew Handrahan Editor-in-Chief

Esports will be a key driver of growth in the Chinese games market over the next five years, a new report from Niko Partners has showed.

According to Niko Partners' data, the Chinese market for mobile and PC online games was worth a combined $30.84 billion in 2018, up more than 11% against its value in 2017.

That growth was achieved against a backdrop in which new game licenses were not awarded by the government between March and December. The freeze had a significant impact on the share prices of China's biggest games companies, and Tencent's recent decision to pull the still unapproved PlayUknown's Battlegrounds shows that its ripple effects are still being felt.

The market for PC online games in China is the largest in the world, Niko Partners said, contributing more than 50% of global revenue. In 2018, that amounted to $15.21 billion, with foreign-made games representing about 60% of that revenue.

The PC online games segment is forecast to rise to $16 billion by 2023, with esports a driving force behind that long-term growth. PC esports game revenue was $6.3 billion in 2018, up 11% over the previous year. But that is expected to grow to $9.5 billion in 2023, at which point it will represent almost 60% of the value in the Chinese PC games market.

The PC esports scene in China is larger than that on mobile, which earned $5.6 billion in 2018. However, mobile esports game revenue is projected to eclipse PC and reach $11.5 billion in 2023, at which point it will represent 45% of mobile games revenue.

That is a larger chunk than esports contributes to mobile at present. In 2018, China's domestic mobile game revenue was $15.63 billion, up 29% over the previous year -- a fast growth rate that will see mobile eclipse PC in the coming years.

In 2023, Niko forecasts domestic mobile revenue to hit $25.5 billion. Along with PC, the Chinese market will be worth $41.49 billion in revenue in five years time.


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