Wanda ex­pands Atletico brand

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By EM­MA­GLEZ em­magon­za­lez@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

DalianWanda Group Co is look­ing to ex­pand the reach of Spain’s Atletico deMadrid, the soc­cer club brand it par­tially owns, in China this year.

The com­pany, which con­trols the na­tion’s big­gest prop­erty de­vel­oper and largest cinema chain, is con­sid­er­ing of­fi­cial stores to sell club mer­chan­dise at its Wanda Plazas, ag­gres­sive pro­mo­tions on Chi­nese so­cial me­dia plat­forms and through soc­cer academies in China, said sources familiar with the devel­op­ment.

Dalian Wanda is plan­ning to set up 200 of­fi­cial prod­uct cor­ners in itsshop­ping­malls, Miguel An­gel Gil Marin, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Atletico deMadrid, said dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion to club mem­bers on Tues­day. Dalian Wanda, how­ever, de­clined to com­ment on the news.

Till now, Chi­nese soc­cer fans could pur­chase of­fi­cial club mer­chan­dise only through Atletico’s on­line store for the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion. The Wanda cor­ner shops will not only serve as a meet­ing point for fans but will also of­fer mer­chan­dise. The shops will also dis­play screens with recorded mes­sages in Man­darin from Span­ish foot­ball stars.

“The con­cept of open­ing of­fi­cial stores is more of a pro­mo­tion strat­egy forWanda than a plan to ob­tain prof­its from the Chi­nese mar­ket. The 200 of­fi­cial prod­uct cor­ners in the shop­ping malls will be a good ad­ver­tis­ing strat­egy for the club. But the club’s of­fi­cial mer­chan­dise has a thin mar­ket base in China, as few Chi­nese fans would ac­tu­ally spend a lot of money on such prod­ucts,” said Zhang Qing, founder of sports mar­ket­ing agency Key-So­lu­tion.

In an at­tempt to con­tinue at­tract­ing new sup­port­ers, Atletico de Madrid will make use of Wanda’s deal with Ten­cent Hold­ings Ltd to dis­trib­ute news con­tent from the soc­cer team to Chi­nese fans.

The club has a global fan base of 12 mil­lion through so­cial net­work plat­forms like Face­book and Twit­ter. To add more sup­port­ers, the club is plan­ning a pre-sea­son tour to China.

Atletico de Madrid will also pro­vide tech­ni­cal sup­port and coach­ing ex­per­tise to three soc­cer schools that will be built byWanda in the coun­try.

The schools will com­ple­ment the Fu­ture Star youth pro­gram that Wanda has with the Chi­nese Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion to train kids in soc­cer schools in Spain. Wanda will in­vest 20 mil­lion eu­ros ($22.6 mil­lion) ev­ery year to sup­port the devel­op­ment of 180 young Chi­nese play­ers in Spain.

“Wanda Group will help ac­cel­er­ate our growth in Asia,” said GilMarin. Wang Wen this story.

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PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

A Wanda Plaza in Dalian, Liaon­ing prov­ince. About 200 shops sell­ing mer­chan­dise of Atletico de Madrid foot­ball team will be set up in China this year.

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