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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 25th August

Hello Industry Friends, here is the very latest news and insights from China. 📰 Headlines: Zhang Weili retains UFC title, LaLiga Hope Cup returns, Alipay doubles down on live commerce, Dalian Wanda mulls Infront sale, 30 days to go for Asian Games, Nike hit by losses, James Harden’s livestream - is it replicable?, and a look inside Tencent’s Peace Elite League Summer Split Final in Shanghai.

 

🗞️ Top Industry News Zhang Weili Retains UFC Strawweight Belt China’s first-ever UFC champion can now lay claim to being a GOAT of the sport, having dominated Brazil’s Amanda Lemos over five rounds to retain the women’s strawweight belt in Boston. Weili’s stock has continued to rise ever since we first won the belt on home soil back in 2019, and is now seen as the best pound-for-pound female in the sport. Read more on China Daily (English) and Tencent (Chinese) 💡 Mailman’s Take: Scrolling through social media and reading the biggest news websites in China last weekend, you’d have thought Weili had just been announced President of China given the sheer volume of coverage. Weili now sits in the top bracket of China’s sporting legends, alongside the likes of Yao Ming, Li Na, and Liu Xiang. As her performances continue to get better, as her fan base and sponsor list grow, as her English improves, and as her win count gets higher - what we could be witnessing is China’s greatest-ever athlete in the making.


 

LaLiga Hope Cup Returns to China with 12-team U-16 Tournament The tournament will see six LaLiga U-16 sides face six Chinese Super League teams from August 25-30. The renewal of the tournament follows the success of the first edition in 2019 which saw FC Barcelona come out on top. To be played in Kunming in Southwest China, the LaLiga Hope Cup is part of a long-term strategic agreement with China Sports Futurity Investment (CSFI) and the Kunming government, which includes other projects focused on the development of football in China. Read more on Inside World Football (English) and Tencent (Chinese) 💡 Mailman’s Take: A smart initiative from LaLiga having put on a successful first tournament back in 2019. Bringing some of the most talented youth players from Spain out to China gives fans a chance to witness future stars in action, as well as see how their own local players match up against Europe’s elite.


 

Alipay Plans to Double Down on Live Commerce The digital payment service operated by Alibaba-affiliated Ant Group is taking steps to monetize its 1 bn-strong user base by doubling down on live-streamed e-commerce, a route taken by many other Chinese platforms. The fintech giant also announced an updated international version of Alipay to make it easier for foreign visitors to China to use the digital payment service using Visa, Mastercard, and other major credit cards. Read more on Technode (English) and Sohu (Chinese) Dalian Wanda Mulls Infront Sale The Dalian Wanda Group is reportedly seeking to sell its sports marketing unit Infront as financial pressure mounts on the property developer, according to Reuters. China's largest commercial property group has tapped Deutsche Bank for advice on the sale of Infront Sports & Media, adding the process is in the early stages and could take months to complete. Read more on Reuters (English) and Tencent (Chinese) 30 Days To Go, Anticipation for Impending Hangzhou Asian Games Runs High Across Asia With just 30 days left before the 19th Asian Games open in Hangzhou, China, nations and regions across Asia eagerly anticipate the upcoming sports event. Yasuhiro Inomata, deputy secretary-general of the Aichi-Nagoya Asian Games Organizing Committee, said "Every venue is fantastic, and the staff as well as the volunteers are enthusiastic. Especially when riding the subway, the synchronized promotional videos playing outside the windows are awe-inspiring," said Inomata who paid a visit to Hangzhou in April. Read more on Xinhua (English) Nike Hit by Record Streak of Losses Amid China Concerns Nike posted a record streak of losses as concern over China’s sluggish consumer recovery builds and elevated merchandise stockpiles continue to weigh on profitability across the activewear industry. Nike’s weakness coincides with increasing signs of a soft consumer rebound in China, which is a key growth market for the sports gear giant. China’s retail sales growth decelerated to 2.5 percent in July, worse than the median forecast of 4 percent. Read more on The National (English) and Sohu (Chinese)

 

🤔 Opinion Inside NBA Star James Harden’s China livestream Success. Is It Replicable? Ten thousand bottles in a matter of seconds. It’s an impressive number that would leave any seller in disbelief and doing a celebratory cartwheel on camera. That is, if they’re not accustomed to Chinese livestreaming. Having a 10-time All-Star team up with a top-tier KOL seems like an easy way to score points in China’s e-commerce court. But is it a play that other brands can follow? Read more on Jing Daily (English) 3 Profiles of Modern Chinese Tourists: How Can Businesses Win Them Over? To help businesses effectively prepare for the influx of Chinese tourists, this article will introduce three types of modern Chinese tourists, take a closer look at their unique traits, and provide tips on how your business can cater to their needs like a pro. Read more on Campaign Asia (English)

 

🎮 Esports Inside Tencent’s Peace Elite League Summer Split Final in Shanghai Changsha-based Peacekeeper Elite team TEC won the Peace Elite League (PEL) Summer Split Final championship at Shanghai Oriental Sports Center and took home $687k in prize money, the lion’s share of a $1.54m total prize pool. The event was hosted by China’s largest game publisher, Tencent, in conjunction with Chinese esports tournament organizer VSPO. The Esports Advocate attended the event as the only Western esports media outlet, and spoke to the Head of Peace Elite Esports Business Tiger Xu and the Head of Peace Elite Marketing Business Edwin Zheng. Read more on The Esports Advocate (English)

 

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