Football industry in China
Men’s football in China does not meet yet the success Chinese fans are expecting. China’s male football ranks 88th in FIFA’s world ranking. Chinese authorities aim at changing the path of football industry in China. Mainly, Chinese fans have strong interest in European football and this market shows great potential for European clubs
President Xi Jinping wants to change the status quos and wants the country’s to rise as a football power by starting with children’. China has carried out a series of supporting policies to help improve the standard of football in China. On 2014 November 27th, it has been announced that Football would become a compulsory part of the national curriculum at schools. By 2017, about 20,000 schools will receive new football pitches and training facilities, with the aim of creating 100,000 new players. The country hopes that children will be more exposed to football and believes that elite players will emerge in the next ten years.
In 2014, China Premier Li Ke-Qiang mapped out the plan for speeding up the sports industry, boosting sports consumption and promoting public fitness in the State Council executive meeting. On October 20th, the State Council announced a guideline named “Opinions on Accelerating the Development of Sports Industry and Promoting Sports Consumption”. The Guideline uses a series of numbers to draw the blueprint of China’s future development of the sports industry.
Football education opportunity in China Football Market
Football industry in China faces many challenges but also holds great potential. With the absence of powerful domestic football club or player, European football club and professional football education in China is full of business opportunities. The former Danish international and top scorer from German powerhouse Schalke04 established the Ebbe Sand Soccer Academy in Shanghai in 2012. The aim is to be the best and give the talents the best football education in China. Ebbe Sand’s academy focuses on talent development in china and acts as a great example of drawing on brand equity in terms of the influence of European football.
Football starts and European Football club‘s opportunity in China Football Market
It is estimated that billions of dollars are spent every year in football industry related business in China and there are tens of millions fans who would like to buy shirts, shoes and goods endorsed by stars and clubs they support. ‘Beckham brand’ is one of the best examples. Beckham has become the ambassador for the Chinese Super League (CSL). As part of that, his brand strength shined on a Chinese high school where Beckham played football with and talked in front of the students. It proves that in a relationship-focused economy like China, the connotations of having a recognizable or well-known face to promote your product is highly important.
Football star endorsements are crucial on the Chinese football market. Drogba was offered about 3 million euros for representing an online game in China for one year. These endorsements will also expand the influence of stars to other fields not direct to the football industry. Drogba also experience an international transfer. Last year this Champions League and FA Cup winner with Chelsea came to Shanghai Shenhua for an annual salary of more than 12 million euros.
Richest Chinese Billionaires invest in Football industry in China
In 2014, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., led by founder Jack Ma, paid 1.2 billion yuan ($193 million) for owning 50% of the Guangzhou Evergrande soccer team’s share. A soccer team can be a powerful marketing tool for buyer’s company. Plus, Investments in a club help build government relations because Beijing is keen to promote sports. President Xi Jinping is a big fan of football, so there is no coincidence that three of China’s 10 richest people are all investing in football. China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin who founded, Dalian Wanda Group agreed in 2011 to give 500 million yuan ($80 million) to China’s football association for activities such as training Chinese youth football players in Europe. Chinese football Clubs, owned by rich domestic companies, splashed out millions of euros. Among others, they brought in Didier Drogba, Fredric Kanoute, Nicolas Anelka, Lucas Barrios, Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Seydou Keita. More involvement of businessmen will help unlock the hidden value of this growth industry.