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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

Asia Sports Business Weekly | 26th January

Hello Industry Friends, here is the very latest news and insights from China and the wider Asia region.

📰 Key Headlines: Zheng Qinwen makes history in Australia, Al-Nassr cancels China games, Shanghai wants more sports events, China and France to enhance cooperation, Puma and Tencent partner up, China U-turns on gaming crackdown, positive outbound travel outlook, the Indonesia FA gets fashionable, World Athletics and Sony agree deal, and Sony ends $10bn India Zee merger. 


🗞️ China News

Zheng Qinwen Makes History at Australian Open

The rising Chinese tennis star made history this week and became the second Chinese woman to reach a Grand Slam singles final with a straight-set semifinal win over Dayana Yastremska. Read more on China Daily (English) and China News (Chinese)

💡 Our Take: Chinese sports fans and non-sports fans will be gripped to their screens this Saturday as Zheng Qinwen, dubbed ‘Queen Wen’, competes in the Australian Open women’s final. Not since Li Na has China had much to cheer about on the tennis court, so the rise and popularity of Qinwen positions the sport in a strong and marketable place for the foreseeable future. 


Al-Nassr Calls Off China Matches

Cristiano Ronaldo’s eagerly anticipated visit to China took a bad turn when his club Al Nassr postponed both of their matches in the country. A “health reason” involving Ronaldo was given as the reason for calling off the matches at such late notice. Read more on SCMP (English) and The Paper (Chinese)

Shanghai to Host More World-class Sports Events

Local political advisors suggested Shanghai host more world-class sports events to better create a name card of a world-famous sports city. Sabrina W. Fung, a member of the city's political advisory body, suggested Shanghai to restore the hosting of the preseason games of the NBA. Read more on China Daily (English) and The Paper (Chinese)

💡 Our Take: It was a relatively quiet 2023 for Shanghai in terms of live sporting events, a year which saw Hangzhou and Chengdu take on the majority of live tournaments. 2024 should be busier with the likes of Formula 1 returning and potentially the NBA China Games. 

China and France Use Sports to Enhance Cooperation

The year 2024 marks the 60th anniversary of China and France's diplomatic ties. It is also the China-France Cultural and Tourism Year, as well as the "Year of the Olympic Games" in Paris. Read more on Shanghai Daily (English) 

PUMA and Tencent Partner on Ecommerce Business Model

The globally renowned sports brand has officially signed a strategic partnership agreement with Tencent for the 2024 GGP (GMV Growth Plan), leveraging each other's strengths to propel high-quality development in comprehensive operations. Read more on Yahoo! (English) and MSN (Chinese)

China Appears to U-turn on 'Obsessive' Gaming Crackdown

The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) had proposed regulations limiting the amount of money and time people spend playing video games. On Tuesday, the draft rules were no longer on the NPPA website. Read more on BBC (English) and NYT (Chinese)

Decathlon to Open New Sports Stores in Guangzhou

The French sporting goods retailer plans to open new stores in Guangzhou, the first Chinese city where Decathlon deployed a full industrial chain business. The group is running 13 stores in Guangzhou, covering nine districts and serving more than 15m people annually. Read more on China Daily (English) and China Daily (Chinese)

China’s Projected 2024 Outbound Travel Boom, Airlines Double Down

Analysts predict a huge uptick in international Chinese tourism this year, and the likes of Cathay Pacific and British Airways are responding. Read more on Jing Daily (English) and China. com (Chinese)

Time for Team China to Reassess its Goals

Team China's disappointing Asian Cup campaign has further burnished Chinese football's unwanted image as a perpetual underachiever, while the country's football revival project struggles on all fronts. Read more on China Daily (English) and Sina (Chinese)


🤔 Opinion

Can Luxury Play the Sports Game Right?

Sports clubs, events, and personalities are currently in vogue across the fashion industry, igniting global interest among style-conscious consumers. How can luxury brands hit a home run? Read more on Jing Daily (English)

Eco-retail, Alpine Allure: Arc'teryx and Burberry Fuel China’s Love of Winter Sports

China’s enthusiasm for winter sports is reaching new altitudes. Brands like Arc’teryx and Burberry are jumping on the trend. Read more on Jing Daily (English)

Top Chinese Livestreamers are Flocking to Overseas TikToK

Moving to TikTok could be a way for livestreamers to salvage their careers away from the watchful gaze of the Chinese internet. The growth rate of Chinese platforms is slowing down in terms of both GMV and users. Read more on DAO (English)


🎮 Esports

Top 5 Teams to Look Out for at VCT China League

The VCT China League is the official and newly introduced Tier 1 event for the Chinese region. A total of 11 teams will go head-to-head against each other to determine the region's best Valorant team. Read more on Sportskeeda (English)


🎤 Asia Spotlight

The 8th Year of the Buriram Marathon, Presented by CHANG

The renowned Thai beverage continues to provide support in what is the 8th edition of the 'Buriram Marathon.' This ambitious project anticipates the participation of over 30k runners, both from Thailand and around the globe. Read more on Nation Thailand (English)


💡 Our Take: Now entering its 8th year, the Buriram Marathon has firmly established itself as a running event adhering to world-class standards. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Sports Authority of Thailand, and various national sponsors have played pivotal roles in making this marathon a resounding success.

Indonesian FA and Erigo Agree Partnership

The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) has officially collaborated with local fashion brand, Erigo. This collaboration gave birth to the Erspo, a new Erigo product that focuses on sportswear. With a USD $1m contract value for the next two years, Erspo will supply the needs of the Indonesian National Team. Read more on Void (English)

💡 Our Take: Erigo is one of the local fashion brands that continues to strengthen its existence. They are now starting to focus on the sportswear market, and achieved great success by collaborating with the Indonesian FA. Local clubs have the potential to become the next collaboration and this could become a benchmark for local fashion brands in Indonesia to strengthen the sportswear industry.

World Athletics and Sony Agree Three-year Landmark Association

The international governing body for the sport of athletics has inked a new three-year sponsorship deal with the Japanese technology and media conglomerate. Running until 2026, Sony will back every World Athletics Series competition, beginning with the WA Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March. Read more on SportsPro Media (English)

Sony Ends $10bn India Zee Merger

Japan’s Sony Group scrapped plans for a $10bn merger with India’s Zee Entertainment, with both sides set to challenge each other legally over failures to close a deal that was due to reshape the country’s media landscape. Read more on CNBC (English)

💡 Our Take: The failed Sony-Zee merger presents both missed opportunities and potential gains. The combined entity would have boasted a formidable sports portfolio, with future IPL rights likely within reach and regional strengths complementing each other. Digital dominance might have been achieved by merging ZEE5 and Sony LIV, creating a powerful platform to rival global giants.


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