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China Unicom partners with Tencent gaming division to advance 5G integration into esports

Chinese state-owned telecoms group China Unicom and technology conglomerate Tencent’s gaming division has signed a strategic co-operation agreement to build “5G esport laboratories” to accelerate progress for 5G tech in the field of esports, create applications and promote the industry together.

The deal was signed yesterday at the Chengdu Digital Entertainment Culture Week, and the agreement was also backed by the Chengdu district government.

The Chengdu district government has been supportive of demonstration projects in 5G technology, and provides funding support to a maximum of ¥10m (€1.2m/$1.4m) for various initiatives.

5G technology was also demonstrated with two large screens at the event showcasing separate musicians playing remotely in ensemble, with the superfast 5G connection resulting in no delay in sound.

China Unicom itself is backed by China’s biggest technology companies, which include Chinese conglomerate Alibaba, Tencent and online company Baidu, which invested a reported $11.7bn in 2017.

Since then China Unicom has been conducting 5G trials in 16 cities and plans to launch the super-fast technology in 2020, according to China Daily. This esport collaboration with Tencent’s gaming division is the next step from previous partnerships with Tencent and Baidu.

The three companies had partnered on commercial 5G laboratories in 2018, focusing on business applications such as edge computing, network slicing and high-accuracy global positioning services, as well as how to better integrate artificial intelligence with 5G, with an emphasis on internet-enabled vehicles and big data technology.

Shao Guanglu, deputy general manager of China Unicom, said then: “We will accelerate steps to commercialise 5G, and strengthen cooperation with partners to build a win-win ecosystem for 5G services.”