AB InBev-Owned Chinese Beer Brand Harbin Tapping Into Esports Market
China’s oldest beer brand, Harbin, "has won over the elusive audience" of males aged 18-29 through a series of collaborations and sponsorships of China's esports leagues, according to Danielle Long of THE DRUM. The Anhueser-Busch InBev-owned brand "has targeted the rapidly emerging sport over the last few years." This year, Harbin sponsored five Chinese teams, creating the Harbin Beer eSports Legion. AB InBev APAC North Senior Marketing Dir of Mainstream Brands Joseph Lee said, "Back in 2015, we started a passion points study to understand 18-29 year old males and we learned that beside food, traditional sports and music, this group really likes esports. In fact, they had the highest affinity rate with esports, which was very surprising to me at the time." This year, Harbin sponsored the entire China Team for the TI7, which is the World Cup for esports. The activity "coincided with the brand's historic high in terms of brand metrics across 24 cities in China." Harbin has "the advantage of being one of the first brand movers" in China’s esports sector. While there are a few int'l brands involved, such as Red Bull, BMW and Sprite, "many are still yet to embrace the sport" (THE DRUM, 11/21).