China is set to recognise both esports athletes and event managers as new professions, according to a report by the country’s Xinhua news agency.
Roles in competitive gaming have been included in a list of 15 new careers to be recognised in China, along with positions like artificial intelligence (AI) engineers, big data engineers and drone pilots.
The list was put forward by the China Employment Training Technical Instruction Center and is up for public debate until 31st January under the supervision of China’s ministry of human resources and social security.
The move comes just months after the Chinese government made plans to restrict the number of video games and take steps to curb playing time by minors to address growing rates of childhood visual impairment in the country.
Although not yet officially recognised as a profession, esports athletes are already cashing in on the growth of the competitive gaming industry. According to Fox Sports Asia, Dota 2 specialist Lu Yao was China’s highest esports earner in 2018, securing total winnings amounting to an eye-watering US$2,247,924.
China is also one of the biggest esports hubs in the world. A report released in July last year by analyst CNG predicted that the Chinese esports market would exceed 88 billion yuan (US$13.1 billion) by the end of 2018 and increase by another 35 billion yuan (US$5.2 billion) over the next two years.