5 news about Chinese football

An increasing number of Chinese likes football. Despite the fact that their team had not qualified for the World Cup in Brazil this year (its last World Cup qualifying dates back to 2002), the event caused a real frenzy in the country: Chinese people watched all the matches carefully. China, the future big football market in the world, can it be possible? Here are 5 news about Chinese football.

1 – The founder of Alibaba has just bought a football club

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Jack Ma, the founder of the Chinese giant e-commerce platform Alibaba, has recently decided to buy a football club. Thus, he has invested 1.2 billion yuans (140 million euros) in the club which is number 1 in China: Guangzhou Evergrande, based in Guangzhou, in the South of China.

2 – European football clubs on Chinese social media

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Chinese web users do not have access to the social media we use in France: China offers its own web actors and censors some of the world’s biggest social media. Are the major European football clubs famous on Chinese social networks like Tencent, Sina Weibo or RenRen? According to a recent study from the Chinese Digital Agency Mailman, there may be more than 15 million regular followers on the pages of the 14 major European football teams. Above all, Chinese support some “stars” football players and often choose to support a football club according to the presence of their idols. For example, Manchester City is the club which has the biggest number of followers (4 million), while Lionel Messi has more than 14 million followers. David Beckham is THE football star on Chinese social networks.

3 – China’s football market is interesting for French football

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China’s market is very important, not only for clubs but also for National Professional Football Leagues, which are often in charge of championship matches television rights. The managers of the Professional Football League (LFP) aim to seduce new Chinese fans, understanding the huge market potential.

4 – Arouse children’s interest

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Chinese football won’t grow and develop itself if the number of players does not increase. And even if China’s population is very numerous, a very few children play football in a club as it is the case in France. Young people who are passionate about sport prefer other sport disciplines, closer to China’s culture, in which China has already a history and in which it is easier to win a world champion’s title. Thus, Chinese children, teenagers and young people are not attracted to start a football career. The challenge is therefore to exploit the opposite trend.

6 – Encourage local talents

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To take a place on the international football stage, China must encourage local talents. So, the professionalization of championship is necessary. By the way, David Beckham is the ambassador of this professionalization. But recruitment of foreign talents is also essential to help Chinese football players progress and improve. For example, the Guangzhou Evergrande club has recruited Marcello Lippi, the coach of the Italian football team. In the National Team, last February, Alain Perrin, the former French coach of the famous club “Olympique Lyonnais”, has replaced Jose Antonio Camacho, the former coach of the Spanish club.

For more information about Chinese football, read our previous articles: