Hong Kong’s first all-female e-sports gaming team aim to smash stereotypes: Girl power

Hong Kong’s first all-female e-sports gaming team aim to smash stereotypes: Girl power

James Griffiths

Girls HK have been a hit in the male-dominated pro-gaming world since they teamed up two months ago, and with over 50,000 Facebook fans already, they are steadily gaining a loyal following.

The girls will take on Taiwanese team Logi-A later this month at E-Sport Festival 2015, where they hope to drum up interest in the craft among other women.

“We’re confident of winning,” team captain Fafa Yim told the South China Morning Post during a practice session at the Cyber Games Arena in Kowloon Bay.

The festival is one of the biggest dates in the city’s pro-gaming calendar, with winning teams earning prizes of up to HK$50,000 (US$6,450) from a HK$200,000 purse.

The tournament also features competitions in Street Fighter, first-person shooter Counterstrike, and card-battling game Hearthstone.

Girls HK captain Fafa Yim broadcasts her gaming exploits to thousands of fans through streaming service Twitch. Photo: Edmond So

From “PC bangs” in Seoul to cyber cafes in Shanghai, competitive gaming is huge in Asia, with leading players earning more than US$1 million a year. The global e-sports video market is worth over US$300 million a year, according to US research firm IHS.

In South Korea, the spiritual home of e-sports, the craze has become so severe in recent years that the government imposed restrictions limiting the amount of time school-aged children can spend in the often poorly lit and cigarette-smoke clogged subterranean cyber cafes.

This hasn’t stopped the scene exploding in popularity, with major e-sports events attracting tens of thousands of fans and packing out stadiums across the country, something Hong Kong’s pro-gaming proponents hope to recreate.

Girls HK will compete against a Taiwanese women’s team later this month at a major Hong Kong e-sports competition. Photo: Edmond So

Yim and her crew were selected in an online recruitment competition by Swiss device maker Logitech, which also sponsors the upcoming festival.

The team, in their matching blue hoodies emblazoned with their sponsor’s logo, all broadcast their exploits on game streaming service Twitch – bought last year by Amazon for US$970 million – where thousands of subscribers tune in to hear them discuss their tactics and smack talk.

Girls HK specialise in League of Legends, a hugely popular free-to-play multiplayer battle game that boasts more than 20 million daily users around the world.

Yim took up the game over two years ago, but getting anywhere near pro-level required serious commitment.

“It took me around a year-and-a-half to become a good player, practicing for two to three hours a day, four or five days per week,” she said.

Girls HK (front row, left to right) ”Kaching” Chan, Nicole Cheung, Kim Kwan, (back row, left to right) Rose Ma, ”FaFa” Yim, Sadie Wong and ”Cupnoodle” Kwan. Photo: Edmond So

She said Hong Kong’s e-sports scene is beginning to take off but remains very male dominated. A lot of women are turned off by the violent nature of some of the games, she added.

“[League of Legends] probably attracts fewer girls because it’s not that cute and there’s lots of killing.”

While the Hong Kong scene is small, Yim and her teammates still have a long way to go to rise up the ranks, most hold down regular day jobs or are in full-time education, carving out practise in the evening or over the weekend.

Sam Wan, founder of Cyber Games Arena and one of the organisers of the E-Sport Festival, said he hoped Girls HK will go on to play more exhibition matches and eventually become full-time gamers.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 August, 2015, 7:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 August, 2015, 5:35pm


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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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