China eSports: 2024 Stats and Facts About the World’s Largest eSports Market

China’s eSports market shows no sign of slowing down since it took over in 2016. As of 2023, the worldwide eSports market projected volume is $445.20 million, with China as the top player.

Thanks to the growing number of monthly active and registered players and the government’s support, China remains the world’s number one in eSports.

The following stats and facts will prove just how big the eSports market is in China.

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Highlights of the Article

  • China gathered $10 billion in eSports revenue for the first half of 2023.
  • In-game sales make up 84% of China’s eSports revenue.
  • Next to games is content creation, responsible for 14% of the eSports revenue in China.
  • Roughly 490 million people in China are into eSports.
  • 500,000 people are working in the eSports industry in China.
  • Shanghai is the top city in Asia for eSports, with over 40% of events organized yearly.
  • Women shared 38% of the gaming population in Asia at 494 million.
  • With 154 million monthly active players in 2022, Honor of Kings is China’s most popular eSports game.
  • Wang Chunyu highest-earning male eSports player in China, with $3.91 million in accumulated prize money.
  • Li Xiao Meng is China’s highest-earning female eSports player, with an overall earning of $241,500. 

Quick Rundown Stats of eSports in China

china esports

The rise of mobile gaming apps in 2019 is among the factors that contributed to the massive growth of the eSports market in China.

Despite the canceled eSports events in 2020 due to COVID-19, China’s eSports industry generated around $24.4 billion in 2021 – and is expected to increase by 13.6% in 2022-2023.

Keep reading to find out how China has become the world’s biggest market in eSports and a glimpse of what’s in store for the industry and the players.

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Side Note

Mobile gaming apps have since become part of every eSports player. These mobile apps are also part of some of the biggest eSports tournaments today in China and worldwide.

As a matter of fact, in 2022 alone, the mobile gaming industry has racked up $92 billion in revenue

Record-Shattering eSports Stats in China

China Audio-visual and Digital Publishing Association (CAPDA) stated that games (84%) and content creation (14%) remain China’s bread and butter for the steady growth of their eSports industry.

Moreover, eSports operators and players are now official job professions in China. The country’s 14th Five-Year Plan also includes the eSports economy.

Find out how eSports is taking over the economy of China with the statistics below.

1. China’s eSports revenue was $10 billion in the first half of 2023.


The product sales from the games and Shanghai being the epicenter of eSports events worldwide played a significant role in this growth, which sits at 84%. 

With the 19th Asian Games in Shanghai, experts project the revenue to grow exponentially before 2023 ends.

China’s eSports revenue comes from product sales of the games at 84%

During the event, Riot Games announced that Shanghai will host the Valorant Masters in 2024, claiming it will be one of the biggest League of Legends events they will organize.

2. 489 million people in China watch or participate in eSports.

(Statista, China Briefing)

According to the latest statistics, one (1) in three (3) people in China is interested in esports on some scale, whether by competing, organizing events or simply being a spectator.

Chinese fans watch an eSports event
Fans holding placards cheer as they watch the final round of the Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) Sports FIFA Online Championship at the Nexon Co. e-Sports Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. Video game competitions, known as eSports, have been expanding as gamers seek to shift perceptions around their craft from a basement hobby to a serious money making industry. Photographer: Jean Chung/Bloomberg via Getty Images

With the government institutions strengthening the eSports industry and over 50 universities in China offering eSports management major programs, experts expect the industry to gain more interest.

3. There are over 500,000 people employed in the eSports industry in China.

(Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security)

As the industry grows yearly, more opportunities come for those who want their hobbies to become a profession. 

In the latest report released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, about 500,000 people currently work in China’s eSports industry.

Four (4) million employees are needed in the eSports industry in China

Since there are 62 eSports events organized yearly, plus the 5,000 eSports teams and 100,000 professional eSports players in China, more employees in the eSports industry are needed.

4. Minors can only play three hours of eSports games weekly.

(AP News)

1.5 hours of gaming from Fridays to Sundays is the new policy set by the Chinese government for minors against video gaming, aiming to control minors’ usage of any video gaming apps to avoid addiction.

A Chinese kid playing video games.

A year after the policy implementation, a government-affiliated group, the Game Industry Group Committee, said they had resolved 75% of gaming addiction.

They found that minors had spent less than three hours gaming weekly.

5. Over 40% of all eSports events globally are held in Shanghai.

(The Business of Esports, Mailman Group)

Shanghai continues to be the epicenter of the Chinese eSports market.

The “Pearl of the Orient” lures in 80% of the gaming companies and brands yearly, making them the top eSports venue in Asia and is second in the world behind Los Angeles, California.

Shanghai is the epicenter of eSports in China and Asia
Shanghai skyline panoramic view at night, China.

News reports stated that Shanghai will build the $900 million International New Cultural and Creative Esports Center that will host the biggest eSports events in the world.

eSports Event NameOrganizereSports Event GameWinnerPrize Money (in million US dollars)
Worlds 2020
  • Riot Games
League of LegendsDAMWON Gaming2.34
The International 2019
  • Valve
  • PGL
DOTA 2OG34.33
Peacekeeper Elite Championship 2020 
  • Tencent Games
  • PUBG Corporation
  • Lightspeed
  • Quantum Studio
  • VSPN
PUBG MobileNova eSports1.82

6. Nearly 500 million female gamers are from Asian countries like China, Japan, and South Korea.

(Disruptive Asia)

While eSports continues to be male-dominated like other sports, female players are slowly rising.

Women represent 38% of the gaming population in Asia alone, with China, Japan, India, and South Korea as the top producers.

Here are some of the known female eSports gamers and their achievements:

NameCountryAchievement known for:
Kim “Geguri” Se-yeonSouth KoreaFirst and only female Overwatch pro player in 2016
Li “Liooon” Xiao MengChinaHighest-earning Asian female player with US$240,510
Xia “Axx” BiChinaWorld’s first female DOTA 2 athlete to play in the DOTA Pro Circuit (DPC) for a major qualifier
Li “ViVi” WeiChinaFirst woman to compete in the World Cyber Arena

Last July, the 2023 Global Esports Summit Agenda in China organized the Women of Esports Development Forum to discuss the ongoing development and issues women face in the industry.

38% of gamers in Asia are women

Interesting Stats of the Most Popular eSports Games in China

One of the things that China is known for is its booming eSports industry. In 2022, China stood as the most prominent eSports market in Asia, with a market share of 34.2%. 

One of the top eSports games in China is League of Legends, which has approximately 75 million players. PUBG, DOTA 2, and Overwatch are other popular eSports games in China. 

This section delves deeper into which games dominate the charts and how much the players earn.

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Fun Fact

Minecraft and Roblox, two of the most popular eSports games, have taken the gaming world by storm since their launch.

As of 2023, Minecraft has sold nearly 240 million units, while Roblox earned $665.3 million in the first quarter of 2023.

7. Honor of Kings is the most popular eSport in China, with 154 million monthly active players in 2022.

(Statista, Sensor Tower)

The Honor of Kings, launched by Tencent Games in 2015, is arguably the most popular MOBA in China and the world, with over 290 million downloads worldwide since 2015. 

Honor of Kings playable character

Within the first eight months of 2023, Honor of Kings generated more than $934 billion in global in-app purchases. 

In 2021, Honor of Kings became the highest-earning mobile game worldwide, surpassing $10 billion in total spending across the App Store and Google Play. 

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Fun Fact

The Honor of Kings generated $225 million in global player spending in February 2022. 95.2% of the total revenue came from China. 

8. 18 out of 20 highest-earning Chinese eSports players are DOTA 2 players.

(Esports Earnings, One eSports, Statista)

The 18 DOTA 2 players’ accumulated earnings from different eSports tournaments reached over $22 million. Arena of Valor players occupy the 2 remaining spots with combined earnings of $3.1 billion. 

DOTA 2 TeamTotal Prize Money (in million US dollars)
Vici Gaming12.92
LGD Gaming10.07

Chinese DOTA 2 players have the highest total pool earnings in The International (TI). They earned a total of $52.7 million in 11 TI tournaments from 2011-2021, three times more than Russia.

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Quick Tip

Choosing the most suitable game for a player is crucial in joining an eSports team. 

A player needs to take note of this and other helpful tips to become part of what could potentially be an elite eSports team.

9. 110 professional DOTA 2 teams are from China.

(Statista, EsportsTalk)

29% of the professional teams in China who play popular eSports are DOTA 2 players. 

DOTA 2 is the biggest eSports in China, considering the number of Chinese-based professional teams. The total prize money awarded to the Chinese DOTA 2 teams reached $62.3 million.

eSportsNo. of Teams in China
DOTA 2110
Heroes of the Storm44
Starcraft II39
League of Legends37
Rocket League2

Chinese eSports Teams and Players: A Look at the Numbers

China has 665 million eSports players and is home to world champions in some of the biggest eSports. They have set a record by being among the highest-earning eSports athletes worldwide. 

In 2021 alone, China became the top earner in overall eSports prize money of $37 million. China outplayed the US after five years since 2016. 

Here are some interesting stats about the highest-earning Chinese eSports players and teams and their games. 

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Side Note

eSports is as exciting as soccer, basketball, or volleyball. Like these sports, eSports also require decision-making skills and contribute to one’s physical and mental fitness.

These reasons are just some factors why eSports should be considered as sports.

10. There are around 1,155 Chinese eSports players as of August 31, 2023.

(Statista, Dexerto)

In 2022, there were 1,709 active eSports athletes in China, which may be matched or surpassed by 2023’s data due to the number of upcoming eSports events in Q4.

2023 Schedule of eSports Events

The schedule only indicates A-Tier to S-Tier eSports Tournaments.

11. Wang “Ame” Chunyu is China’s highest-earning male player, with $3.91 million in accumulated prize money.

(Statista, Esports Earnings)

Wang Chunyu is the most successful Chinese DOTA 2 player in China, considering the total amount of prize money he won from 68 tournaments. 

He started playing in 2015. His highest earning so far amounts to $1.04 million during the International 2021 held in Bucharest, Romania, where he placed 2nd. 

PSG.LGD’s long-time carry is the world’s 19th highest-earning DOTA 2 player.

NameOverall earning 

(in million US dollars)

Wang “Amy” Chunyu3.91
Zhang “y`” Yiping3.87
Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida3.85
Lu “Somnus丶M” Yao 3.27
Xu “fy” Linsen3.07
Hu “KaKa” Liangzhi2.55
Li “iceice” peng2.01
Yang “Chalice” Shenyi2
Chu “Shadow” Zeyu1.98
Zhou “bLink” Yang1.96

12. Li Xiao “Liooon” Meng is China’s highest-earning female eSports player, with an overall earning of $241,500. 


Li Xiao Meng was a Hearthstone player who played for Victory Key. 

She was the first female player to win the Hearthstone Grandmaster Global Finals in 2019, receiving $200,000 in prize money. She beat Brian “bloodyface” Eason from the US in this game. 

“This is the best way to strike back at those people who doubted me only because I am a girl. It proves that girls can be strong pro players, just as guys do.”

Li Xiao “Liooon” Meng, after winning the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmaster Global Finals

Her victory served as an inspiration to all women who aspire to become successful pro-female players. Unfortunately, she retired early in the eSports industry in 2020 with 10 tournaments. 

NameOverall earnings (in US dollars)
Li Xiao “Liooon” Meng241,510
Hou “yifan0227” Yifan53.884
Diana “sonder” Zhang31,880
Wang “BaiZe” Xinyu30,312
Chen “GLHuiHui” YuYan30,000

13. PSG.LGD is the highest-earning eSports team in China, with $24.7 million in prize money earnings.

(Gosu Gamers, AFK Gaming, Statista)

PSG.LGD, a professional DOTA 2 team, ranks as the most successful eSports team in China and 8th worldwide, with a win rate of 62%.

In 2021, the team earned around $15.7 million, still at the top in overall earnings. 

eSports TeamOverall Earnings in 2021 

(in US million dollars)

Wings Gaming9.56
Vici Gaming7
Invictus Gaming4.91

In the same year, PSG.LGD won the Riyadh Masters Grand Final against Team Spirit, where they earned $1.5 million as prize money.  

14. 8 of the Top 10 Chinese CS: GO players have earned more than $100,000 prize money.


Ten of the most successful CS: GO in China have earned around $100,000 – $200,000 as of August 2023, the highest being Xu “somebody” Haowen’s $282,600.

These earnings are small, however, compared to how much Peter “dupreeh” Rothmann Rasmussen has made, which is around $2.18 million, the highest any CS: GO player has won.

Earnings of eSports players with Chinese players dominating the list

15. Zhu “Paraboy” Bocheng is the best PUBG Mobile player in the world, with an estimated total earnings of $1.3 million. 

(EsportsBets, Esports Charts, Esports Earnings)

Paraboy, who is playing for the Nova Esports team, is often hailed as the best PUBG Mobile player of all time. He is known for his impressive assault, shooting accuracy, and remarkable team skills. 

He won the biggest in a single tournament at $306,000 during the PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2021 Finals, where his team ranked first.

PUBG Mobile PlayerCountryTeamTotal prize money 

(in million US dollars)

Zhu “Paraboy BochengChinaNova Esports China$1,386,382
Zeng “Order” ZehaiChinaNova Esports China$1,315,270
Xu “Jimmy” YinJunTaiwanNova Esports China$1,245,858
Lin “King” YienTaiwanRSG$1,031,286
Xu “qc” JiajunChinaNova Esports China$729,696

Brief Timeline of China eSports History

China has taken initiatives to support a niche market such as eSports to boost the IT industry and economy in general.

China Sports Ministry officially recognized eSports in 2003. The following year, the Sports Ministry and the China Sports Federation launched the first China E-sports Games (CEG). The rest, as they say, is history.

Here are some notable events that contributed to the growing eSports market in China.

16. The 1990s was China’s Dark Era for eSports

(Pandaily, Hybrid.Co.ID)

From the 1990s to the 2000s, video gaming was not well received by the Chinese population, especially parents. Video gaming was considered taboo and just as harmful as drugs.

The timeline of events below quickly discusses how bad it was for eSports in China from the 1990s to the early 2000s:

  • The 1980s to 1990s – Arcade games were introduced to China and posed a threat to Chinese parents, prompting the policy developments, including the “Government Notice Strengthening the Regulation of Billiards and Video Game.”
  • The Guangming Daily Article in 2000 – This article presented the negative effects of gaming on children. Thus, it caused mass anxiety among Chinese parents, further protecting their kids from being exposed to video games.
  • The Lanjisu Fire Accident in 2002 – Internet cafes and video game equipment were banned because this accident killed 25 Internet cafegoers.
Video gaming was taboo in China in the 1990s

17. 2010s Became a Turning Point in China’s eSports Industry


The Sports Ministry of China recognized eSports as an official sport in 2003. However, eSports wasn’t as well-recognized in the country until the 2010s.

Policies against video gaming softened in 2009, and games like DOTA 2 and LoL were now allowed but only if distributed by Chinese gaming publishers. 

Not only is this strategic policy benefited the local gaming industry of China, but it has also gradually changed the country’s perception of video gaming.

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Fun Fact

The history of eSports goes from the 1950s when computers were introduced. Find out through this article about the rich history of eSports and its evolution.

18. China’s National eSports Team was established in March 2013.

(The Asia Dialogue, Mailman Group)

Since the 2010s, China has invested in eSports with events organized regularly in Shanghai, Beijing, and Chengdu. 

Chinese eSports team celebrates victory

For instance, Zhang Xiangling was a torchbearer for the Beijing Olympic Games 2008 for the eSports category.

By 2013, the Sports Ministry of China formalized a national team for eSports to address the industry’s growing demand and stabilize the country’s economy from the eSports industry.

19. China toppled the USA as the top eSports market in 2016.

(The Asia Dialogue, Fortune)

China has overtaken the top spot for the largest eSports market worldwide from the previous record holder, the USA, since 2016.  

China attributes achieving the top spot in the eSports market to having millions of fans and billions of investments, backed by the support of sports organizations and the Chinese government.

China has been the world’s largest eSports market since 2016, replacing the USA

In 2016 alone, China raked in $22 billion from the eSports initiatives compared to the $443 million revenue of the USA.

The Endgame

Even after decades of developments in the gaming landscape, China remains the leading market in eSports. 

Thanks to the government’s support, millions of players, fans, and companies like Tencent, Riot Games, and NetEase, the eSports market in China continues to grow. 

The country also has more professionals within the eSports ecosystem than ever before, and many tech companies are becoming partners with eSports organizations.


Is eSports big in China?

Yes, eSports is incredibly big in China. The country is the largest eSports market worldwide, with a revenue of $10.6 billion in the first half of 2023. 

Who is the leading eSports player in China?

The leading eSports player in China is Wang “Ame” Chunyu. He is the highest-earning eSport player in China, with $3.91 million in prize money in his career. 

How many people participate in eSports in China?

489 million participate in or watch eSports in China. 

How many esports players are there in China?

More than 6,000 registered players participate in China’s esports scene. The country has 110 professional Dota 2 teams, and some of the highest-grossing players are Chinese-born.