Tencent leads new investment in Chinese esports operator VSPN
Tencent, the Chinese digital platform, is the lead investor in a Series B funding round for esports solutions provider Versus Programming Network (VSPN).
Shanghai-based VSPN said today it had raised close to $100 million in the round.
Other investors include Tiantu Capital, Susquehanna International Group (SIG) and Kuaishou.
It is claimed the new funding will go towards improving esports products and VSPN’s ecosystem in China and other parts of Asia.
The company was founded in 2016 as one of the first Asian esports tournament organisers and content creation companies and has since expanded into other areas, including offline venue operation.
In a statement, Dino Ying, the chief executive of VSPN, said: “We are delighted to announce this latest round of funding. Thanks to policies supporting Shanghai as the global centre for esports, and with Beijing, Chengdu, and Xi’an expressing confidence in the development of esports, VSPN has grown rapidly in recent years.
“After this funding round, we look forward to building an esports research institute, an esports culture park, and further expanding globally. VSPN has a long-term vision and is dedicated to the sustainable development of the global esports ecosystem.”
Mars Hou, the general manager of Tencent Esports, added: “Tencent is glad to support VSPN. VSPN’s long-term company vision and leading position in esports production are vital for Tencent to optimise the layout of the esports industry’s development.”
VSPN’s initial Series A funding round in 2016 was led by Focus Media Network, together with China Jianteng Sports Industry Fund, Guangdian Capital, and Averest Capital.
Esports has become an increasingly important part of the Tencent business, with the company said to have been a leading driver in the recently announced merger of live-streaming platforms Huya and Douyu, as it has significant stakes in both.
Tencent also wields considerable influence in the games publishing market, with holdings in developers including Epic Games and Riot Games, which produce popular titles Fortnite and League of Legends respectively.