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China's Mobile Economy by Xiaodong Lee, Dominic Barton, Winston Ma

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Chapter 6 Mobile Entertainment

During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, China's national football team, ranked 103rd in the world, failed to go through to the tournament final in Brazil following the qualifying round. Despite this the mobile internet helped to create a time of celebration for hundreds of millions of fans as well as first-time watchers in China. In past World Cup tournaments, Chinese football fans simply watched the tournament on TV at odd hours (due to time differences) while drinking beer with friends. During the 2014 Brazil Soccer World Cup, people were active participants throughout the time that it was held. In addition to watching TV or online videos, they also interacted actively with their social networks to follow the games, played their own virtual games, and many used their smartphones to place bets on the games for the first time in their lives.

Gambling was generally illegal in mainland China, but provinces were permitted to run official sports lotteries that donate proceeds to charity. Reselling tickets for the sports lotteries run by provincial governments had become an industry in itself. In the 2014 World Cup season, China's internet firms operated as a platform on which the lottery centers could accept the placing of bets. Once again, the internet giants Alibaba and Tencent flexed their muscle in this mobile field, as they competed to build the most convenient and popular mobile lottery portals to help Chinese football fans participate in the World ...

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