The numbers are not what you might have expected.
Salaries have always been a rather tricky topic in the esports world. It’s rare to see transparent contract values, and player transfers usually feature undisclosed amounts. All of this makes it harder for fans to gauge the value of a trade, but those working within the industry can also find it tough to know exactly how to negotiate and land a deal that both parties are satisfied with.
Recently, former Chinese pro player and Top Esports’ substitute jungler Xiaopeng shared some insights on the current state of minimum wage in the Chinese region. During a co-stream, which was later shared on the streaming platform Bilibili, Xiaopeng mentioned that the current minimum monthly wage in the LDL (second Chinese division) is 6,000 ¥ (~873.62 $, based on the currency exchange rate on Mar. 25th). For the LPL, instead, the minimum salary is 20,000 ¥ (~2.912,06 $, currency exchange rate on Mar. 25th).
According to Xiaopeng, many players currently competing in the LPL and in the LDL are just sitting on minimum wage, including substitutes. Even some of the bigger stars, such as Top Esports’ top laner Qingtian, are also sitting on a 20k ¥ per month salary. He also mentioned that food and housing are also provided.
Back in 2021, the Chinese region had various allegations and investigations on matchfixing, which also included the jungler superstar Bo.
According to Xiaopeng, these scandals forced the organizers to erect new guardrails: “After players like Bo and others were fined, they (the organizers) made all players competing in the LPL sign a specific agreement that would fine players 5M ¥ (~$728.013,95, based on the exchange rate of Mar. 25th) if they were caught matchfixing. That said, no one was caught or exposed for it so far. “