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eSports game user number in China 2016-2020

Around the globe, eSports is rapidly gaining popularity with millions of fans and billions of dollars up for grabs. The competitive, organized video gaming had attracted 488 million users in China by the end of 2020. The country has become one of the largest eSports powerhouses in the world, with rising numbers of female viewers and players in eSports leagues.

Climbing to the top of the ladder

The first time Chinese gamers appeared in a global video gaming competition was the World Cyber Games in 2001. The United States and South Korea were leading the tournament chart in terms of total prize money, whereas China ranked tenth among 29 participating countries that year. During the rapid growth stage of China’s eSports industry between 2013 and 2017, the number of professional players and the amount of prize winnings reached a record high. In 2020, Chinese players occupied half of the top ten player spots, making China second after the United States in the global eSports arena.

Rising participation of women in competitive gaming

While eSports gaming is male-dominated to a great extent, female fans accounted for about 30 percent in China as of 2019. Several consumer surveys have found that females are more willing to fly to attend an overseas eSports event and spend more on related merchandise. On the other side, the landmark victory of Chinese female player Li Xiaomeng has not only encouraged more Chinese women to go pro, but has also attracted a lot of young, female viewers. As the leading female Chinese eSports gamer, Li was the first woman to win a Hearthstone Grandmasters championship and a BlizzCon tournament in November 2019. In the long term, the eSports industry needs to address the gender gap as more and more female consumers want to see women represented in eSports tournaments.

Number of eSports game users in China from 2016 to 2020

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Release date

December 2020



Survey time period

2016 to 2020

Supplementary notes

eSports users include: users or viewers of eSports games, competitions, and live broadcasts.

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Statistics on "eSports market in China"

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