Bilibili Gaming, an e-sports spinoff of online entertainment giant Bilibili (NASDAQ: BILI), has secured RMB 180 million (USD 27.82 million) in its first fundraising round, led by Zhejiang Chuangxiang Culture fund, with the participation of Chengdu Culture Investment and Chengdu-based B-ray Media (SH:600880), 36Kr reported on Thursday.
Earlier this month, state-owned B-ray Media already announced an investment of RMB 50 million into the gaming firm, for a 6.02% stake, as Chengdu aims to build one of China’s e-sports hubs. It approximately valued Bilibili Gaming at RMB 830 million.
Formed in 2017, Bilibili Gaming, which is also known as BLG, currently runs e-sports teams for several games, including League of Legends, Overwatch (Hangzhou Spark), and NetEase’s Onmyoji Arena. The operations of BLG also include player management, as well as the broadcasting and organizing of tournaments.
Its parent Bilibili, which reportedly filed for a secondary listing on the Hong Kong market, has made big bets on the lucrative gaming industry. In August, it sealed a three-year collaboration with Riot Games, the developer of LoL, for the exclusive Chinese broadcast rights to all LoL global events. Gaming livestreaming platforms Huya and Douyu rebroadcasted the competitions.
Last year, Bilibili co-hosted the 2020 Overwatch Contenders and organized the e-sports Shanghai Masters. In December, Ping An Bank signed a title sponsorship deal with BLG.
Aside from entertainment conglomerates like Tencent, Kuaishou, Bilibili, and Weibo, e-commerce giants like JD.com and Suning, have also set their sights on the market, because of the potential of e-sports itself, but also because of the huge branding power it generates among younger customers. The global gaming market is set to surpass USD 200 billion by 2023, according to a recent study from Newzoo. The US and China accounted for over 72% of the global gaming revenue in 2019.