According to local Communist Party (CCP) officials and reported by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), Hangzhou—a Chinese hub for tech startups, has promised $14 million (100 million yuan) in annual funding for video gaming and Esports. Esports, short for electronic sports, is a form of competition using video games and often takes the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions.
The report shows the funding program is part of preparations for the city’s hosting of the Asian Games. This event is set to take place from September 23 to October 8, 2023.
The tech hub will be the third Chinese city responsible for organizing this event, after Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.
Following its inclusion as a demonstration sport at the 2018 Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Esports will debut as an official medal event in the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
SCMP quoted the nation’s semi-official gaming industry group as saying the youth video game addiction issue is “basically solved.” In addition, several academic institutions in Hangzhou, including Zhejiang University, China Academy of Art, and Zhejiang Media Institute, will establish degrees in video-game animation and esports.
An Hangzhou official said, “[We should] dig deep into the comprehensive value of games, culture, technology and innovation, and further create a good ecosystem for the gaming industry.”
Hangzhou officials stated their intention to ask several municipal authorities to help create a “positive atmosphere of public opinion” during the Games.
This move also indicates that the CCP’s crackdown on the tech sector is about to thaw.