Esports will be an official medal sport at the Asian Games in 2022, the Olympic Council of Asia has announced.

Prior to that, esports will be a demonstration sport at the Olympic Council of Asia’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games this September, which is to be held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

The esports to be contested there include FIFA 2017, alongside yet-to-be-named MOBAs and "real time attack" games.

This foregrounding of esports is thanks to a strategic partnership between the Olympic Council of Asia and Alisports of China, a part of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

Last year, Alisports invested US$150 million in the International eSports Federation, a South Korean organisation that lobbied the International Olympic Committee to consider esports for the Olympics.

"The Olympic Council of Asia has constantly been committed to the heritage, development and improvement of Asian sports, and we are extremely pleased about the strategic partnership with Alisports," said Olympic Council of Asia president HE Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah.

"We look forward to further collaboration with Alisports in regards to digital sports concepts along with sporting events."

Alisports founder and CEO Mr. Zhang Dazhong said, "I would like to thank the Olympic Council of Asia for their faith in Alisports.

"Together we will work on providing the sponsors of the Asian Games with more opportunities and maximizing the market value, so that the OCA enjoys optimum benefits and advantages."