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Chinese government officials in Shanghai and Shenzhen have recently revealed their goals to boost the local esports industry, despite regulatory crackdowns in China surrounding gaming.

Both Shanghai and Shenzhen have recently been showcasing their efforts to boost the local esports industries through initiatives that hope to encourage the city’s esports industry to grow.

Recently, central Shanghai signed a deal with the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association to establish an esports industry research institute. Meanwhile, the Shenzhen government unveiled a five-year plan in Sept. 2022 to encourage the development of original games for esports and support esports teams.

“Video gaming and esports are becoming a new driving force for the development of the digital economy, “ Zhang Hua, Shenzhen’s vice-mayor stated, according to South China Morning Post. “The Shenzhen government attaches great importance to the development of the industry.”

FunPlus Phoenix VCT LOCK IN

FunPlus Phoenix was one of two Chinese teams invited to VCT LOCK//IN São Paulo.

Both announcements come during a period of concern over the esports industry due to possible future limits on gaming. In Aug. 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced its plans for a new policy that would limit children 18 and younger to under three hours of online gaming a week. This raised concern for China’s professional esports leagues in being able to develop future talent.

League of Legends boasts two separate Chinese professional leagues, the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) and the League of Legends Development League. While the LPL serves as a ground for the top League of Legends professionals to compete against one another for a shot at the League of Legends World Championship, the LDL serves a different purpose. The LDL’s aim is to help future talent accelerate their skills in hopes they can eventually join the LPL, which becomes an issue when children under 18 cannot play League of Legends.

Despite the gaming crackdown, China continued to become the world's largest esports market, reporting 403.1 million in esports revenue, according to CNBC. Additionally, esports is set to become an official medal event later this year at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, and has even been rumored to possibly create a Chinese VALORANT League in the future.

For now, Chinese esports fans can tune into VCT LOCK//IN São Paulo where Chinese team EdWard Gaming looks to win the championship trophy in Brazil following FunPlus Phoenix's elimination.