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China Policy Institute: Analysis

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Is China on a collision course with world football’s governing body?

Written by Simon Chadwick.

Trent Sainsbury may not realise it, but he recently became the epicentre of a seismic shift in global football governance. The Australian is a 25-year-old defender who had been playing for Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning. In January he signed for Italy’s Inter Milan on a short-term loan deal.

This looks like a relatively innocuous move – but it was not. Inter and Jiangsu are both owned by Suning, a Chinese electrical retailer (in Inter’s case the company purchased a 70% stake in the club last year). In other words, Suning own both the buying and the “selling” club. Continue reading “Is China on a collision course with world football’s governing body?”

The Chinese Super League: A Footballing Vanity Project on Steroids

Written by David Prentice.

Founded in 2004, the Chinese Super League consists of 16 teams; Guizhou Zhicheng, Liaoning F.C., Jiangsu Suning, Beijing Guo’an, and Guangzhou R&F make up just five of these clubs of which little is known outside the Middle Kingdom. Whilst they are hardly well known, established footballing names, the Chinese Super League (CSL) is perhaps currently the richest footballing league in the world. A recent explosion of spending power reaching mind-numbing proportions is putting the CSL firmly on the map, and big name players more than ever are starting to turn their attention to Chinese cash. Continue reading “The Chinese Super League: A Footballing Vanity Project on Steroids”

Xi Jinping’s vision for Chinese football

Written by Simon Chadwick.

It is now two years since President Xi Jinping announced his vision for the Chinese sports industry: to create a domestic economy worth $850 billion by 2025. The vision is epic in scale: the most generous estimates of the current global industry are around Xi’s target for China. Continue reading “Xi Jinping’s vision for Chinese football”

Can China’s Super League help spur its global ambitions?

Written by Simon Chadwick.

Imported stars signed for large transfer fees and paid hugely inflated wages; high hopes of success for domestic clubs competing in international competitions; stories about massive television contracts being signed that will revolutionise the game; and concerns about the perpetually under-performing national team and where it goes next. No, it’s not the English Premier League. Welcome to China’s Super League, which starts on March 4. Continue reading “Can China’s Super League help spur its global ambitions?”

China’s financial muscle makes its mark on the global sport industry

Written by Simon Chadwick.

The Chinese economy has been growing at break-neck pace for the past three decades. It is the largest in the world by some measures and, as we all know, the Chinese sell the world everything from electronics to iron and steel.

But in one industry the Chinese have been rather slow out of the blocks – sport. The 2008 Olympics may well have been a breath-taking extravaganza, but the country has failed to take full advantage of the exceptional facilities that remain at Beijing’s Olympic Park. The same story is true at Shanghai’s F1 circuit, a US$450m grandiose folly that routinely attracts significantly less than full capacity crowds. Continue reading “China’s financial muscle makes its mark on the global sport industry”

Global brands follow football’s silk road to China

Written by Simon Chadwick.

The football clubs of Western Europe are off to Asia this summer in the hope of engaging fans and building relationships with some of their target customers. For example, China plays host to the Barclays Asia Trophy, with Manchester City, Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur battling it out in Hong Kong.

For those of us able to readily recall Colin Bell, Bob Stokoe or Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa, it is likely that our engagement with these clubs is already well established (and, in revenue terms, has had considerable lifetime value). For newer football fans located in China however, engagement is a often rather different and arguably more complex phenomenon. Continue reading “Global brands follow football’s silk road to China”

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