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Professional video gaming reaches big time in China

Crowds fill Beijing's 'Bird's Nest' for esports

Vici Gaming team members claim victory at the China finals of the World Electronic Sports Games Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament in September. (Courtesy Alisports)

SHANGHAI -- When it comes to attacking an enemy base with swords and spells, Ming Kai excels. The 24-year-old ranks among the best players of "League of Legends," the world's most popular multiplayer online game.

"I train every day," said Ming, who moved from the inland city of Wuhan to Shanghai to train with his teammates on the EDwardGaming squad, one of China's top "League of Legends" teams. He usually starts playing at the team's training center, located in an office building, around 2 p.m. and finishes 13 hours later, with breaks for food. As a team member for the past four years, Ming has won close to $400,000 from tournaments where his play is watched by paying spectators either on site or online.

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