Wave energy potential in the South China Sea was assessed and analysed based on a 31-year simulation of wave characteristics using the third generation spectral WAVEWATCH–III™ model. The model was forced by Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) winds and ETOPO2 bathymetry data. The highest annual wave power can be found in the northern region of the study area with amplitudes exceeding 20 kW/m. The values decrease gradually towards the Sunda Shelf and reach to their minimum at coastal regions due to bathymetry complexity, shadowing and island obstruction effects. However, the wave power is strongly influenced by seasonality and inter-annual fluctuation. Nine sites representing different sub-regions were selected for further analysis on eligibility of wave farming. Various wave energy statistics including estimated electric power for a number of Wave Energy Converter (WEC) devices showed some stations (Hameau Mo in Vietnamese east coast, Spratly Island, Palawan and Cape Bolinao in west coast of Luzon) have greater eligibility for wave power farming. The estimated electric power that can be produced from these sites using Wave Dragon, an intermediate depth WEC device, ranges from 712 to 1211 kW and 935–1680 kW for annual and a six-month period from September to February, respectively.