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CHINA BRIEF | Weibo and Kuaishou buy e-sports teams, ramp up content

The King Pro League e-sports tournament attracted 570 million viewers this year.

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Chinese social media company Weibo (NASDAQ: WB) on Monday announced at Tencent’s Global Esports Summit that it has acquired the e-sports team TS Gaming, winner of the 2020 King Pro League (KPL) spring season. At the same event, short video app Kuaishou said that it bought YTG, another Honor of Kings team, signalling a ramp-up in e-sports content on major platforms.

Following the Weibo deal, TS was renamed WB.TS, while YTG became KS.YTG. Both teams have franchising slots in KPL, the top competition for Honor of Kings. The game had around 119 million monthly active users in March. It’s the second highest-earning mobile game in July, generating USD 192 million in user spending via in-app purchases on Google’s and Apple’s app stores, only behind Tencent’s hit title PUBG’s USD 208.8 million, according to research firm Sensor Tower. This year’s tournament, which was livestreamed, racked up 570 million viewers.

Weibo’s move underscores its push in e-sports. As of July, the number of KPL fans on Weibo reached 47.4 million, and related topics had over 10 billion views. Kuaishou, as an entertainment platform, puts a similar effort on e-sports content. By the end of May, daily active users of game-centric livestreams on Kuaishou hit 220 million.

This article is part of KrASIA’s “China Brief” section, where KrASIA’s reporters will provide quick daily updates about the tech ecosystem in China.