Asian Games 2023: China wins first esports gold medal in Hangzhou playing Tencent’s Arena of Valor


China has won the Asian Games’ first ever gold medal in esports after a victory over Malaysia in the title Arena of Valor, the international version of Honour of Kings.
The six-player Chinese national team won 2-0 in the esports finals, where the best of three matches takes the crown, at the Hangzhou Esports Centre on Tuesday night. The players use a version of the game that Tencent Holdings created specifically for the Asian Games, which merges elements of both Arena of Valor and Honour of Kings.

The six Chinese players – Sun Linwei, Lin Heng, Luo Siyuan, Chi Xiaoming, Xu Bicheng and Jiang Tao – were all professional players from the King Pro League (KPL), China’s top Honour of Kings tournament run by Tencent, the game’s developer. The Asian Games victory came after the players destroyed their opponents’ base crystal twice in 45 minutes, a rapid pace for professional competitions.

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That marked China’s 48th gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games this year. The bronze medal in the same esports competition went to Thailand, which beat Vietnam on Tuesday with a 2-0 victory.

This year is the first time esports medals will count towards a country’s total in the Asian Games since they were introduced as a demonstration sport in 2018. This has helped draw extensive attention to the category, especially among young people.

The Tuesday finals were broadcast on China Central Television with a 10-minute delay and streamed on some Chinese video platforms including Huya and Tencent Video.

Seven video game titles – five for PC and two on mobile – are included in the esports competitions this year. Tencent, the operator of the world’s largest video gaming business by revenue, is involved in four of those titles. Arena of Valor and PUBG Mobile are both published by Tencent. The tech giant owns League of Legends through its subsidiary Riot Games and publishes Electronic Arts’ Fifa game EA Sports FC Online in China.
Fans watch China’s national team in the esports finals for Arena of Valor in Hangzhou on September 26. Photo: Reuters

Other titles included in the Asian Games are Dota 2 from Valve Corp, Dream Three Kingdoms 2 by Hangzhou Electronic Soul Network Technology, and Street Fighter V: Champion Edition from Japanese publisher Capcom.

This year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, capital of China’s eastern Zhejiang province, were delayed from September 2022 due to the country’s rigid Covid-19 controls still in force at the time. During the games, which run from September 23 to October 8, athletes will compete for 483 gold medals across 40 sports.

Arena of Valor is a multiplayer online battle arena game developed by Tencent’s TiMi Studio Group, which created Honour of Kings in 2015. The two titles contain some different characters, with Arena of Valor including DC Comics’ properties like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman to attract international players.

The combined version played at the Asian Games features 63 champions from which players can choose – 51 from Honour of Kings and 12 from Arena of Valor.


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Chinese netizens were quick to hail the country’s first esports gold medal, which was widely expected given that the team had not lost a single match leading up to the finals.

“I am so proud at the moment,” Xiaolu, an official commentator for KPL, wrote on her Weibo account after the final match ended. “We are all witnesses of a glorious new chapter for Chinese esports.”

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