Well-known around the world for their flat-packs and somewhat eclectic furniture designs, Scandinavian-based furniture giants IKEA announced their move into the Chinese Esports industry over the weekend.
Rather than investing in any of the teams or tournaments organised within the country, IKEA instead took a typically left-field approach. They have designed a home furnishings collection which has been specifically designed for esports competitors.
The new range debuted at its store in Shanghai on January 31.
The range includes a number of items of furniture that have been specifically designed with the wants and needs of an esports player in mind. It includes tables, chairs, and storage boxes amongst a host of accessories and furniture items.
The items are available for customers in Japan to buy either in person in-store or through their online sites across China.
Chosen To Launch In China First
IKEA have chosen to launch these items in the buoyant Chinese esports markets initially before any decision is made on whether to expand the range of items. This could be by adding further items to the selection available, or making the existing items available in other countries. Or both.
According to the Swedish-based company, the move demonstrates that IKEA has great confidence and has invested a lot of time in its Chinese market.
The CEO and President of IKEA China, Anna Pawlak-Kuliga, stated that the aim for the company was to create a number of gaming and esports-based furniture items that would be comfortable for players to use, but also healthier for them.
Of course, the surge in revenue within the esports industry in China and the fact that it is a buoyant market that has been relatively little explored, especially by mainstream furniture businesses, also makes China a perfect choice for the company to launch its new range.
Surge Of 14.63 Billion U.S. Dollars
Like many countries around the world, the Chinese esports market saw its revenue surge during the pandemic period from 2019 to 2020. It saw a 44.16% increase in revenue over the year, from 94.73 billion yuan to 136.56 billion yuan.
Furthermore, allied to this increase in revenue, China also witnessed an increase in the number of people engaging with esports. Over the 12 month period outlined above, the number of esports players in the country increased by 9.65%.
That is around 488 million people playing esports, according to a report released by the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association and the China Game Industry Development Research Institute.
It is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a surge of interest in esports in China, just as there has been in many other countries around the world and of course, this has led companies like IKEA, who are more famous for operating in the home furnishings market, to explore how they can diversify into this particular market.
Other Companies Seek To Diversify Into Esports in China
IKEA are not the only traditionally non-esports company seeking to diversify into the market in China in recent times. TenCent, NetEase, and Perfect World are all Chinese companies that have made similar moves.
German optical systems firm ZEISS also signed a deal with Invictus Gaming, one of China’s top esports organisations, to explore the potential for optical enhancements and equipment to improve the visual experience for esports players.
Summing up the potential within the Chinese esports sector, the Shanghai E-Sports Association deputy secretary general, Xu Bo, commented:
“As the most important market in the global esports industry, China will bring immense opportunities to related industries worldwide and attract more multinational companies to tap into the sector.”