Alibaba leaps into e-sports with YuuZoo partnership

Singapore-based social networking company YuuZoo has signed an agreement with Chinese conglomerate Alibaba to launch and operate e-sports competitions in China.

Under the deal, YuuZoo, through its Chinese joint venture YuuGames, will organise the new AliSports World Electronic Sport Games (WESG) as well as the E-Sports Clubs Competition Center.

WESG will begin in April and feature 20 e-sports club competition centres fighting it out for RMB35.6m (€4.9m/$5.5m) in prize money.

AliSports, a new division of e-commerce provider Alibaba, will target China’s growing sports industry. The group plans to invest RMB100m in WESG alone.

AliSports will pay YuuGames a “multi-million-dollar fee” to organise and run WESG and manage AliSports’ E-Sports Clubs Competition Center. YuuZoo will also generate additional revenue from promotional fees, advertising revenue and e-commerce sales.

“As a new partner to China's largest e-commerce group, we are not only looking to reinforce our position as a leader in China's e-sports sector, but also to discuss opportunities with Alibaba Group to jointly grow YuuZoo's other China-based businesses, including our gaming business, payment business and social e-commerce business,” YuuZoo chairman Thomas Zilliacus said.

AliSports and YuuGames are planning to launch 1,200 e-sports events this year in 15 cities across China.

AliSports chief executive Zhang Dazhong added: “Sport is a multi-billion-dollar business in China, with massive growth potential. That is why Alibaba is investing heavily in this vertical. Linking sport and technology enhances the quality of life. That is what we want to do through AliSports.”