Alibaba, one of the world's largest e-commerce platforms, has jumped onto the e-sports bandwagon.
The company on Wednesday announced the World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) tourney, a worldwide tournament that will begin in April and finish off in December. In e-sports, fans watch skilled computer-gamers compete live or over the Web.
Featuring a variety of popular games, WESG will have a massive prize pool of well over $5.5 million (AU$7.15 million, £3.8 million).
Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are among the games that will be part of the tournament. Conspicuous by its absence is the ultrapopular League of Legends, which may have been excluded because it's.
E-sports have exploded in recent years and in 2015 hit a viewer base of 134 million people, according to SuperData research. The same firm said the industry was worth nearly $750 million last year, a number that's expected to grow to $1.9 billion in 2018.
Alibaba, meanwhile, is one of China's largest Internet companies and last year made a record $1 billion revenue in 8 minutes. Its entry into the e-sports realm is the latest indicator of the industry's growing mainstream appeal.
Much more is expected to be added to the $5.5 million base prize pool through crowdsourcing. The prize money is already among the largest in e-sports, even when not taking into account the potential crowdsourced dollars.