Tropical Geography


Spatio-Temporal Evolution and Influencing Factors of E-Sports Industry: A Case Study of Shanghai

Shaowen Zhan(), Yixin Zhu, Zhe Cheng(), Shibin Dou   

  1. School of Public Administration, Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology, Xi'an 710000, China
  • Received:2020-05-19 Revised:2020-06-29 Online:2021-04-15
  • Contact: Zhe Cheng;


As an emerging industry formed by the integration of multiple industries, the e-sports industry contributes to urban development, economic growth, and promotion of urban image owing to the characteristics of low pollution, strong driving effect, and high social influence. However, the e-sport industry is a new industry with limited studies about the general features, evolutionary mechanism, and spatial dynamics. As an e-sports industry center in China, Shanghai has the most complete e-sports industry chain and the largest industrial scale. This study takes Shanghai as a classical case to explore the spatial evolution process, features, and influencing factors of the e-sports industry using the spatial analysis methods, including the kernel density estimation, nearest neighbor index, and the Kriging spatial interpolation analysis based on the data mining of Shanghai e-sports enterprises from 2006 to 2018. The results show that, first, according to factors such as historical background, policy support, and development characteristics, the e-sports industry in Shanghai can be divided into the initial stage from 2006 to 2010, the rapid development stage from 2010 to 2014, and the explosive growth stage from 2014 to 2018. Second, the spatial distribution of the e-sports industry in Shanghai has evolved from a dual-core aggregation to a multi-core aggregation with the characteristics of central aggregation and simultaneous outward expansion. The south and north are the main directions of the expansion of e-sports enterprises. Third, high-capital e-sports enterprises tend to focus on software parks and universities in the surrounding area. There are currently four high-capital hotspots, namely, Zizhu Science Park in Minhang District, Zhaojiabang Road in Xuhui District, Lantian Enterprise Development Industrial Park in Jiading District, and Tiandi Software parks in Putuo District. These hotspots will have more opportunities to extend more competitive e-sports enterprises in the future because spin-off firms can inherit excellent capabilities from the parent firms. Fourth, based on the analysis framework of agglomeration economy—enterprise spin-off—institutional environment, this study analyzes the evolution mechanism of e-sports industry cluster in Shanghai. The agglomeration economy plays a centripetal role, the enterprise spin-off enables new enterprises to inherit successful routines from the parent company, and the institutional environment is conducive to the formation and management of industries. Compared with previous studies which showed that the government plays a smaller role in promoting the cultural industry, the development of the e-sports industry is affected more by the institutional environment. Finally, at an urban scale, government policy planning has a guiding effect on the location selection of the e-sports industry. High-quality human resources, economic development level, e-sports market environment, and transportation convenience are the key factors for the aggregation of e-sports enterprises. In addition, compared with traditional industries, the e-sports industry has the characteristics of competition as a sporting activity. Furthermore, the excitement of competition and the holding of big e-sports events will have a significant impact on the development of the e-sports industry. This study explores the spatial-temporal pattern, evolution process, influencing factors, and evolution mechanisms of the e-sports industry in Shanghai from the perspective of evolutionary economic geography. This study verifies and enriches the theory of evolutionary economic geography from an empirical perspective, providing a theoretical basis for optimizing the spatial distribution of the e-sports industry, developing an e-sports industry cluster district, and enhancing the urban cultural brand. It also provides a decision-making reference for other cities to develop the e-sports industry.

Key words: E-sports industry, Spatial evolution, Industry agglomeration, Shanghai

CLC Number: 

  • TU984.1