China scythed nearly $600 billion off Tencent Holdings' market value in its crackdown on tech and gaming. Now the country is betting on its biggest company — and professionalized video games — to help restore some national pride.
This week, hundreds of elite gamers are descending upon the scenic city of Hangzhou, near Shanghai, to represent their countries at the 19th Asian Games. The once-in-four-years event, effectively a regional Olympics, is the first time that competitive video games will be eligible for medals. Tencent has a hand in making or publishing four of the seven multiplayer titles that will be contested as esports.
Chinese President Xi Jinping gave his personal seal of approval to the games by attending the opening. China hopes to regain some of its international prestige by hosting a successful event, while Tencent is leveraging the gathering to juice growth across its entertainment portfolio.