COVID Economics: China’s gaming industry

Tsz Ying Lau

Half a century ago, China was still a poor country, with no more than 100 billion U.S. dollars of GDP (gross domestic product)–note that America’s GDP was over one trillion in the same period. But now, as Global Game Developers state, China has grown to be the world’s second-largest economy, with the largest online game market in the world that is estimated to have generated 41 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. 

So why is the game industry growing so fast? The first, and most obvious, reason is that, as reported by China Population (LIVE), China has the largest population–over 1.4 billion in the world.  With such a wide variety of games, there is one to suit nearly everyone’s taste. In other words, as time goes on and more gen Z gets to join the labor force and be financially independent, every citizen can potentially be a consumer of the game industry.   

Secondly, game publishers utilize marketing strategies to attract more potential consumers. Take China’s most popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) mobile game, Honor of Kings, as an example. Its developer, Tencent, holds competitions all year round. Some competitions’ awards total thirty-two million dollars, encouraging players to continue improving their techniques and sharing those awards (Bu Hui). Furthermore, the whole competition is broadcasted on platforms like Huya and Douyu, giving the top players a sense of achievement as the audiences appreciate their techniques and attract new, potential players that may not be familiar with the game. 

COVID crashed many industries around the world, but China’s gaming industry benefits from the pandemic – the first six months of the industry’s revenue totaled US $20 billion, “22.3 percent higher than the same period last year” (Ye). Though the boom is unlikely to happen again as the number of cases in China decreases, China’s game industry will probably continue growing.  

Works Cited:

Bu Hui. “2020王者荣耀世冠奖金池正式公布 总奖金高达3200万.” Qq.com, Tencent Games, 11 July 2020, pvp.qq.com/web201706/matchdetail.shtml?tid=470219. 

“China.” China – Place Explorer – Data Commons, datacommons.org/place/country/CHN.

“China Population (LIVE).” Worldometer, www.worldometers.info/world-population/china-population/.  

“Global Game Developers See Growth Opportunity in ‘World No. 1’ Chinese Market.” 404, 31 July 2020, news.cgtn.com/news/2020-07-31/Global-game-developers-see-growth-opportunity-in-Chinese-market-SzYgnNnC3S/index.html. 

Ye, Josh. “Game Sales in China Surge 22.3 per Cent in First Half of 2020 amid Pandemic.” South China Morning Post, 31 July 2020, www.scmp.com/tech/apps-social/article/3095510/game-sales-china-surge-223-cent-first-half-2020-amid-coronavirus. 

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