With the gaming industry growing extremely fast around the world and with China expected to overtake the United States as the highest-earning esports country in 2019, at the beginning of this year the Chinese government recognized esports as an official occupation.
Early in the Spring of 2019 China adopted 13 new occupations as official, including areas of activity in artificial intelligence engineering, internet engineering and technical personnel, debugging staff, cloud computing technicians, drone drivers, esports professionals and esports operators, which describe those who compete in professional tournaments, perform in an esports event, or those who also train with professional players.
According to a report of PwC, esports revenues totaled $805 million in 2018 and it’s expected to triple by 2022, reaching $2.96 billion. China is one of the largest markets for esports, League of Legends, Dota 2 or Counter Strike being some of the most popular games in the country. With esports getting more mainstream media attention each day, China wants to create a healthy competitive environment. There are currently two governmental institutions that regulate the esports in China and which actively look into keeping fraudulent behaviour away from the scene.
General Administration of Sport and China Culture & Entertainment Industry Association are regularly conducting investigations that are a common practice in traditional sports. In a Tweet from September 8, 2018, Jack “KBBQ” Chen, a well-known figure for both the Chinese and western Dota 2 fans, stated that Dota 2 players have been randomly selected for “lie detector questioning” regarding match-fixing.
The two governmental institutions in China do conduct such interviews, but according to multiple sources from the Chinese esports industry, the pool of professional players summoned randomly, are from all sports titles, including mobile games. The process is meant to both discover unethical practices, such as match-fixing, but also to prevent any attempts of unhealthy competitive behaviour. As far as VPEsports could learn about the General Administration of Sport and China Culture & Entertainment Industry Association activity, any esports competition held on the Chinese soil has to follow the regulations set by the two institutions.