Public Diplomacy and foreign policy mileage while leveraging an eager domestic audience: China’s increasing love for football solidifies further with China Construction Bank (founded 1954 turned commercial in 1994, listed on the HKSE since 2005) on a three-year sponsorship gig with Manchester United, the English Premier League’s most successful club. Anyone watching EPL games recently would have noted most advertising hoardings have already been dominated by Chinese companies in the past two to three years.
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Reds link up with CCB
Source – Manchester United official site, published January 15, 2013
Manchester United has today (15 January) agreed a three-year sponsorship with one of China’s most prominent banking groups, China Construction Bank (CCB).
As part of the agreement, United’s first with a Chinese bank, CCB will hold the rights exclusively to produce the official Manchester United branded credit card in mainland China.
The CCB Manchester United Credit Card is set to be popular with the club’s fans in China, offering them a range of exciting benefits, including various club-related incentives. CCB will be marketing the card to its almost 102 million personal banking customers in mainland China.
Like United, CCB has accumulated many accolades, receiving more than 30 awards from renowned local and international institutions in the first half of 2012.
United’s commercial director Richard Arnold said: “We are very pleased to be partnering with China Construction Bank to bring the official Manchester United Credit Card to China.
“Manchester United has a huge following in China of 108 million. We know from our visits there, including to Shanghai last summer, that our Chinese followers have always been among the most supportive.
“Through our relationship with CCB we hope not only to give fans an excellent product, but also bring them closer to the club they so passionately support.
“As China’s fiscal and industrial strength continues to grow, it is establishing itself as a leader in the global economy and the place for businesses to invest. In 80 major cities in China, CCB have almost 60% of all branches, making them the ideal partner to connect with our fans.
“Together with our TV and mobile partners, financial services products give us tangible ways of providing real benefits to our fans that enable them to establish a closer relationship with their favourite team.”
As one of the ‘big four’ banks in China, CCB employs over 320,000 employees and has almost 14,000 domestic branches, as well as overseas branches in Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, New York, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney.