Business / Green China

Yingli Solar helping light up FIFA venues

By Lyu Chang (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-22 06:53

Yingli Solar helping light up FIFA venues

The signing ceremony for Yingli Solar to sponsor the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is shown taking place in June 2011.The company hopes to penetrate uncharted markets via the event. Provided for China Daily

In sponsoring event, company also hopes to up its profile

It might seem odd to associate a Chinese solar panel maker with big name backers of the FIFA World Cup that starts next month - McDonald's Corp, Coca-Cola Co and Budweiser - especially when the country's team didn't qualify.

But Yingli Green Energy Holding Co Ltd, known as Yingli Solar, sponsored the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and will do so in soccer's showcase this year in Brazil. It is the only Chinese company, and the first renewable energy firm, to do so.

Yingli Solar helping light up FIFA venues
Yingli posts sharp fall in Q3 loss 

Yingli Solar helping light up FIFA venues
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The company hopes to penetrate uncharted markets via the event.

In a business-to-business industry, it is not regular consumers who choose the solar panel brand; installers do.

Still, is it really worth it for Yingli to attract average consumers through such a money-burning event, when the company itself has posted consistent losses and has been unable to recover while its counterparts have?

Miao Liansheng, the founder and chairman of the Baoding-based company in Beijing's neighboring Hebei province, said the lackluster performance is mainly due to management problems and low margins.

"As we shifted to downstream solar businesses like utility-scale solar projects, module prices started to recover," he said. "Our profitability is increasing."

Profit is expected in the second quarter, he said.

The global solar panel industry is reviving after a time of overcapacity. Yingli Solar said it plans more marketing campaigns during and after Brazil's World Cup, targeting a wider consumer group. The company is moving toward so-called distributed solar. That includes rooftop panels and other small installations.

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