China has reclaimed its top spot in esports prize money, following a three-year gap.
According to the latest reports from Safe Betting Sites, Chinese esports players earned a total of $37m in prize money for 2021, elevating the team to the top of the global winnings list. Prior to this, China had finished second to the US for the three previous years.
The US is now in second spot, with players accumulating a total of $22.8m in prize money.
According to data from Esports Learnings, China has taken the lead for the first time since 2017. In 2018, and for the next couple of years thereafter, US players consistently outplayed the Chinese in terms of prize money.
In 2021, Chinese esports players made a huge increase in total prize money, jumping from $17.9m to $37.1m. At the same time, US figures dropped.
For example, in 2019, US players earned a total of $43.6m, which fell to $23.1m in 2020 and again to $22.8m in 2021. The annual number of players representing the US has also consistently decreased since 2019.
Ranking just below the US, Russian esports gamers came third, having not featured in the top 10 nations in 2019. Last year, Russian gamers finished in sixth position with $4.4m in prize money; however, 2021 saw them reach a total of $21.9m, claiming third position in the list.
South Korea has slipped to fourth spot with a total of $11.6m, having previously occupied third place in 2019 and 2020. Ukraine is in fifth, earning $10.3m. Prior to this, the Eastern European nation was not in the top 10 in either 2019 or 2020.
Brazil, Japan, the UK, France and Denmark make up the rest of the top 10 list for 2021.
Vyom Chaudhary, an editor at Safe Betting Sites, commented: “China and Ukraine were the biggest winners in esports competitions in 2021. The US representation has suffered a lot following its peak in 2019. The effects of the pandemic were still visible on the US esports community in 2021.”