China issues licenses to first batch of registered eSports athletes
Li Xiang

Eighty-five athletes from 18 clubs received licenses from the government on Wednesday, marking a milestone in the development of eSports in China. 

This was the country's latest effort in promoting the development of eSports in China. On April 3, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) recognized two new jobs: eSports operator and eSports professional.

The 85 athletes come from the following seven video games: Wangzhe Rongyao (Honor of Kings), League of Legends, Dota 2, FIFA Online 4, Clash Royale, Hearthstone and Warcraft III.

Chinese diving legend Wu Minxia, table tennis world champion Wang Liqin and former national basketball player Liu Wei handed the licenses to the eSports players. Two retired eSports world champions, "Sky" Li Xiaofeng and "Alex" Bian Zhengwei received commemoration licenses as honorary registered athletes.

License for registered eSports athlete /Weibo Photo

License for registered eSports athlete /Weibo Photo

The issuing ceremony was held by Shanghai Administration of Sports, Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism and Shanghai eSports Association under the guidance of Publicity Department of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee. Multiple video game companies including Perfect World Games and EA China provided support to the event.

Eighteen well-known eSports clubs, including Newbee, Keen Gaming and Vici Gaming, saw their players come home with government-issued licenses.

EHOME's Faith Ban, who won the title at The International 2016 (TI6) of Dota2 eSports World Championships with Wings Games, received his license on the stage as an athlete representative.

Dota2 has the most licensed eSports athletes of all video games. /Weibo Photo

Dota2 has the most licensed eSports athletes of all video games. /Weibo Photo

On July 10, the Shanghai eSports Association released the list of the registered athletes on which there were 88 names in total. However, only 85 got their licenses on Wednesday – three must have failed to pass the screening process, according to

Dota2 became the biggest "licensed event" as 35 registered players of this game received their licenses. Warcraft III had three, the fewest. Newbee had the most, 26 athletes, with licenses of all clubs.