Bayern Munich to talk with China's e-commerce giant Alibaba
Updated: 2015-05-25 10:50
Bayern Munich's Philipp Lahm lifts up the trophy after their final German first division Bundesliga soccer match of the season against FSV Mainz 05 in Munich, May 23, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
BEIJING -- As China's soccer market becomes more lucrative each day, European clubs started to shift their attention to the eastern gold mine.
Newly crowned German champions Bayern Munich are one of them.
On Wednesday, Bayern will hold talks with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Soon they may sell shirts with player names in Chinese characters. The team will also play three friendlies against Inter Milan, Valencia and Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande in July.
"China has become the biggest and most important market with a rapidly growing affinity for football," Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge once said.
According to a study by Shay Digital Sports in September 2014, 32 European football clubs have established a presence on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent to Twitter. Among these clubs, 10 from the Italian Serie A, seven each from the Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga and English Premier League.
Bayern are the leader in Germany while Schalke have more than 950,000 followers and Borussia Dortmund more than 715,000 for the top three.
And four of the 18 Bundesliga clubs - Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg, Schalke and SV Hamburg - have Chinese language versions of their main websites.
Like Bayern, these clubs don't just make themselves available online. They actually travel to China for pre-season training camps and friendly matches.
Last summer, SV Hamburg and Werder Bremen both spent about a week in China with schedules full of sponsorship meetings, pre-season training, friendly matches against Chinese Super League teams and chances for Chinese fans to see their favourite players live and in person.
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