Sports / Soccer

Chinese 'invade' European soccer

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-03-01 16:51

Chinese 'invade' European soccer

Wang Jianlin (C), chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, holds an Atletico Madrid jersey with his name, to pose for a photo with Atletico Madrid's President Enrique Cerezo (R) and managing director Miguel Angel Gil after a signing ceremony in Beijing, January 21, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIJING - Chinese billionaires have started invading European soccer by making purchasing deals with top clubs, looking to gain influence in the "beautiful game" and help China raise its standard.

Within one month before China's central reform group, captained by Chinese President Xi Jinping, approved a plan to revive the game on Friday, Chinese had sealed the deal with clubs in Spain, the Netherlands and France.

Wang Jianlin, the owner of Dalian Wanda Group, announced on Jan. 21 that he had bought a 20 percent stake of Spanish champion Atletico de Madrid with 52 million US dollars.

Two days later, China's United Vansen International Sports Corporation made it public that they had almost finished the purchase of Dutch club Alles Door Oefening Den Haag.

Early in February, Dalian Wanda made a second daring move in three weeks by acquiring Swiss sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media in a deal valued at about 1.2 billion US dollars.

Then came the news of a Hong Kong listed electrical components manufacturer, Tech Pro Technology Development company, in the middle of negotiation to buy French club Sochaux from the Peugeot car company.

"I believe those investments in sports industry and European soccer clubs are related to the deepening reform of soccer and sports in China," said Lu Hao, chairman of D & F Capital Management Co. LTD.

"Cultural and sports industry is able to play a very important role in the economic transformation of China and the government has given various signals to encourage the development of sports industry since last year.

"I believe more Chinese companies will invest in soccer clubs and sports in China and abroad."

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