How Football Club Build Mobile Online Community


Beijing Guo An, a local China football club released their mobile application which is also the first one in China. Compared with Arsenal’s application, the app Guo An developed is more customized to Chinese football fans.

Big football fans community

China football is an extremely special market. On one hand, billions dollars are spent every year on football and football related goods and there are tens of millions fans supporting the club they like and buy their shirts, shoes and goods their idol represent.
On the other hand, they cannot find local team to support because China football always brings its fans failures, scandals and boring games. So many football fans turn to support clubs from Europe.

Manutd fans in China

Those big clubs have already understood this and many of them come to China to develop their community. Among all the leagues, Premiership is the most popular one in China. Only Manchester United has over 20 million supporters, as Sina news introduced.(Source: Sina)

Large mobile online community

In China, with more and more people use their mobile phone to surf online, half pages viewed(PV) on Internet are viewed via mobile devices.

From the chart below, we can see the the number of mobile users are increasing at a higher speed than PC users in the past 2 years. From July, 2010, the increase of mobile Internet users keeps a higher speed than that of PC users and its increase is accelerating. see more about mobile marketing in China

Mobile marketing of football clubs

To take advantage of their charisma, some clubs like Manchester United, Man City and Arsenal came to China and hold some games. Some of them develop their community online.

Arsenal Mobile application

One of them happens to hit a door to a big market that nobody else do. Arsenal developed its mobile application in 2011.

This app has raised a discussion among “Qiang Mi” (literally “Gun Fans”, nick name for Arsenal fans in China). The 2 minutes highlight after the match is the most attractive function to “Qiang Mi”.

As this fan said, the best part is you can watch a 2 minute highlight after the match.
However, there’s no Chinese version for fans. English is still a big obstacle for most Chinese; even English is a compulsory course for Chinese students.
Fans would hardly pay money for some English version app, especially those apps costs them money. Considering the price and other cost it may cause, one app costs about ¥30. In fact, it’s not that expansive, but some people consider this as a way to make money and get angry with the club.

This fan complained that Arsenal only thinks about how to make money, not how to improve!

And now a local club also released their mobile app on July 11 for their mobile community building. It’s called Beijing Guo An.

Beijing Guo An mobile application

Basically, this app is the same as Arsenal one. However, it offers a Chinese version.
But fans are still not willing to buy app because it cost ¥12 (about one-third of that of Arsenal). In China, most mobile applications are free because people would not buy those chargeable ones even if the free apps are copy from others.

As this fans said, it’s only a way of junk application developer to make profit and we haven’t spent money on this kind of apps since ancient times. Fans are the wealth of a club!

And another fans suggest that the application is good but it’s a pity that there’s place for fans to comment.

To sum up, to make a good mobile application for mobile community building, your application needs to

  • have a Chinese version;
  • don’t expect making money from it;
  • and interact function.

What’s your business? Can mobile marketing help your business?