Bayern Munich to talk with China's Alibaba
Beijing, May 25 (IANS): As China's football market becomes more lucrative each day, European clubs have started to shift their attention here.
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 letters. The team will also play three friendlies against Inter Milan, Valencia and Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande in July, reports Xinhua.
"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, 32 European football clubs have established a presence on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent to Twitter. Among these clubs, 10 are from Italian Serie A, seven each from Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga and English Premier League.
Bayern are the leaders in Germany while Schalke have more than 950,000 followers and Borussia Dortmund, more than 715,000. 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.