Company Special: Legends link up as Wuliangye sponsors national table tennis team

Updated: 2013-07-22 08:21

By Li Fusheng (China Daily)

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 Company Special: Legends link up as Wuliangye sponsors national table tennis team

Sichuan Vice-Governor Liu Jie holds an oversized autographed table tennis paddle while Liu Guoliang, former world champion and now head coach of China's national teams, poses with a shirt bearing the distillery's name during a signing ceremony for the sponsorship agreement. Provided To China Daily

Wuliangye Group, one of the most famous liquor brands in China, has partnered with the General Administration of Sport to sponsor China's national table tennis teams as they prepare for the 2016 Olympics.

The renowned liquor maker said it will provide full support to the men's and women's teams following the signing of an agreement with the administration's table tennis and badminton center on July 12 in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

It is now an official title sponsor for the national team and the Chinese Table Tennis Association.

The move further deepens the liquor giant's involvement following adoption of the Wuliangye name by the country's women's team in February ahead of competing at the 52nd world table tennis championships in Paris in May.

Tang Qiao, chairman of Wuliangye Group, said now that an alliance has been established, his group will help in the development of the national table tennis team, the latest example of its corporate social responsibility efforts.

He said the company and national table tennis teams share proud histories, including a major turning point in 1959 when the distillery based in Yibin, Sichuan province adopted its current name.

The national team won its first gold medal at the world championships the same year.

Over decades of development, the Chinese team has become the global table tennis dream team while Wuliangye has grown into a leading distiller.

Tang said striving to be No 1 is the motto for both Wuliangye and the national team.

Liu Xiaonong, director of the table tennis and badminton center, said with Wuliangye's support the national team will do its best to prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Sichuan Vice-Governor Liu Jie said the cooperation is mutually beneficial. "It will promote the cause of sports in China and at the same time boost the image of Sichuan companies."

As an outstanding example of local businesses, Wuliangye has long been committed to corporate social responsibilities.

In 2011 construction began on two primary schools the company sponsored in Xingwen county, Sichuan province, and in Yushu county, Qinghai province.

When Yushu was struck by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in 2010, the group immediately responded with rescue efforts and sent 15 million yuan ($2.44 million) worth of materials to the victims, according to the company.

Wuliangye was also among the first companies to join relief efforts when a magnitude 8 earthquake rocked Wenchuan county in Sichuan province on May 12, 2008.

It dispatched 28 vans to help transport basic necessities to the affected regions and donated 28 million yuan worth of funds and materials to earthquake victims.

It is also involved in post-earthquake construction through a 25 million yuan donation to build a new campus for a school in Dujiangyan city, one of the hardest-hit regions.

As well, the company contributed to the construction of 23 health centers and one primary school across the entire quake-ravaged area.

Liu Zhongguo, chairman of Wuliangye Yibin Co, said the efforts demonstrate Wuliangye's philosophy of paying back to society.

"Wuliangye could not have made its achievements without the support of friends from different walks of the society," Liu said.

"As a large State-owned company, it should undertake more social responsibility and contribute to charity."

It has done even more for its home city of Yibin. In 2011, Wuliangye paid nearly 6.83 billion yuan in taxes, accounting for almost half of the city government's revenue in the year.

The company has also created more than 50,000 jobs, most of them in Yibin.

(China Daily 07/22/2013 page24)