It was a big night for Chinese esports fans when the Shanghai-based Edward Gaming (EDG) team won the world championship for League of Legends on Sunday.
Edward Gaming team celebrates their championship on Weibo. Image via Weibo
Nearly 500 million viewers stayed up late on the night of November 7 to watch China’s EDG team competing with the defending champion South Korea DK team on the Chinese streaming site Bilibili. Bilibili was the official livestreaming site for the final in China.
The competition ended tight with a score of 3-2.
The hashtag ‘EDG wins’ (#EDG 夺冠#) quickly topped charts on China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo. It had garnered 3 billion views at the time of writing.
“Congrats! But please stop screaming, I want to sleep,” a netizen posted on Weibo right after the game.
“Ah! EDG! EDG! EDG! You made it! Champions 🏆 !” Chinese actor Zhu Yilong opined.
Enthusiastic fans celebrated the victory by taking to the streets and posting on various social media sites, including posting videos of them running naked on China’s TikTok platform Douyin.
While the fanfare would have you assume it’s the first time a Chinese team has won the Worlds, this is not the case. Invictus Gaming was the first-ever Chinese team to win in 2018, and another group, FunPlus Phoenix, secured the top spot the following year.
EDG entered the professional League of Legends scene eight years ago and has become one of China’s most popular gaming teams, with more than 6 million followers on Weibo. It is the only team in China’s top-level professional league that has won both the Mid-Season Invitational and the Worlds.
China’s esports industry is now the world’s biggest, with more than 488 million gamers and a market scale of 100 billion RMB (around 16 million USD), according to the Chinese media outlet Sina Tech.
At the same time, Chinese officials have made moves to crack down on the gaming sector for youth. In September, the Chinese government urged leading online gaming companies like Tencent and NetEase to play down profits and enforce time limits on minors.
Cover photo via Weibo
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