eSports fever hits Hong Kong as three-day EMF begins

While Asia is certainly not lacking when it comes to regular events for eSports fans, Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) are throwing their sizable hat in the ring this weekend with the return of the now annual ICBC (Asia) e-Sports & Music Festival (EMF). Kicking off last night with a fluffy of dramatic bass drops (courtesy of DJ Soda) and throngs of gaming fans in Hall 3 of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), the three-day festival will represent a tremendous growth in the increasing recognition of eSports as it hosts world-class tournaments across three of the world’s most watched games: Return of the Legends 2018; ZOTAC CUP MASTERS CS:GO 2018 Grand Finals; and the Hong Kong PUBG World Invitational.

(Photo by Theodore Kaye/Getty Images for Hong Kong Tourism Board)

Perhaps most noticeable is the second tournament of this bunch, the CS:GO Grand Finals which will see a record-smashing $2 million HKD ($347,764 AUD) total prize pool ramp up the stakes in this already tense eSport. Additionally, the prize pool of the “Hong Kong PUBG World Invitational” is over HK$1 million ($173,882 AUD), the largest amount ever in local PUBG competitions.

More than 26 eSports teams and over 110 local and international players will be making up the tournaments, which will each day be complemented by performances from the aforementioned DJ Soda as well as young Canto-pop singer Gin Lee. There’s also the immersive “Experience Zone” which is more typical of a gaming event, covering an entire hall with eSports products, games (including Insomniac’s new Spiderman title for PlayStation) and a large amount of VR titles, along with a mini-stage hosting various other acts like a CLP x eSports Academy, KOL battles, and performances by local musicians.

(Photo by Theodore Kaye/Getty Images for Hong Kong Tourism Board)

With the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited on board as the event’s major sponsor, the indoor festival is a massive nod to the vitality of eSports and the bankable starpower of participating teams. It should also give consumers plenty of things to do over the weekend as it also takes place at the same time as the Hong Kong Computer & Communication Festival that takes place in Hall 1 of the HKCEC. Holders of tournament tickets can also enjoy free same-day admission to this tech-heavy event (and vice-versa). Tickets are still available at the box office outside Hall 3 and start at HK$10 for admission to the experience zone.

(Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images for Hong Kong Tourism Board)

For more information about the festival head on over to

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy-Editor-At-Large of the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.