(Yicai Global) Jan. 17 -- Alienware, the Dell subsidiary that makes gaming laptop and desktop computers, plans to leverage China's boom in e-sports to increase its sales in the country.
The brand has quietly built a network of 135 stores across China since entering the market in 2009, Dell Senior Vice President Raymond Wah told Yicai Global in an interview at the recent Consumer Electronics Show 2019 in Las Vegas. Sales of the Texas-based firm's gaming laptops reached USD3 billion last year, Wah added without providing a comparison with mainstream personal computers.
Demand for niche gaming laptops is on the rise despite falling sales for PCs. For China, growth is largely due to the meteoric rise of competitive gaming, known as e-sports. Chinese e-sports players stood at 280 million last year, up from 220 million the year before, according to research firm Jingdata.
China's computer gaming sector has been on Dell's radar for some time with Wang Lijun, its general manager in the country, referring to the market as being of "decisive" importance four years ago when talking about its emergence.
The market started from a user base of about 100 million in 2015, according to data from the 2019 China League of Legends E-Sport Ecology Leader Summit. LoL Pro League views increased by half last year to more than 15 billion with almost 100 million people streaming the global finals.
The PC maker debuted its Alienware Area 51m, designed to replace desktop gaming computers, and its thinnest ever laptop at this year's CES.
Dell also announced that professional e-sports organization Team Liquid would use Alienware technology when setting up a second training institution in the Netherlands. Founded in 2000, Team Liquid has won several e-sports competitions and has cooperated with Dell before on training facilities.
Alienware also revealed a PC hardware partnership with Riot Games with a focus on League of Legends. At the CES, the firm also debuted Alienware's new design scheme called Legend.
"The Legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community," said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager for Alienware, gaming and XPS at Dell. "The new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate."
The PC market continued to decline for a seventh consecutive year in 2018, according to research firms Gartner and IDC, with weak consumer demand a major factor. Sales in China fell 3.4 percent to an estimated 52 million. The decline is expected to continue this year, said Wang Jiping, assistant vice president at IDC China.
Still, gaming laptops continued to post growing sales, especially in China where major players like Alienware, Asus' ROG and Razer are all present. Their products typically feature high-end modules equipped with discrete graphics cards.