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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collins


Updated: Jun 7, 2019

Following their 6-1 defeat of Porto in last night’s Champions League fixture, Bayern Munich’s final score post on Sina Weibo became the most popular official football club post of 2015 with over 5,000 fans celebrating online in just 8 hours.

To get a better understanding of the different traits of a Chinese fans, and what makes them tick, we reviewed the top 6 most popular club posts so far in 2015.

Chinese football fans are some of the most passionate in the world. However, they have certain habits which make them very different to their European counterparts. When it comes to their team, or should I say ‘teams’, they can be fickle. It is highly common in China to support multiple teams, often one from each of the top European leagues. Therefore, football clubs’ official Chinese social media channels can have a wide range of followers all supporting a mixture of different clubs.

With this in mind, let’s move on to the six most popular posts on Weibo in the first four months of 2015. Engagement is measured through the total shares, comments and likes a post receives.

1     Champions League Quarter Final: Bayern Munich 6-1 Porto. Success on the pitch is of course the easiest path to popularity in China. Without it, clubs need to differentiate themselves through unique campaigns specifically targeted to China. This post’s popularity also gives us a clear indication that the Champions League is still the most respected club competition amongst Chinese fans.

Engagement: 5,017 (and rising)

What We Learned

Success in the Champions League is the most revered aspect of European football by Chinese fans

2     It may come as a surprise that VfL Wolfsburg have the second most successful post of the year so far. They were able to cash in by launching a Chinese New Year campaign around the new signing of Chinese star Zhang Xizhe, which proved to be a recipe for success.

Engagement: 4,160

What We Learned

Three factors contributed to this post’s success. The timing was excellent, combining the new signing and Chinese New Year. By utilizing the ‘China factor’ they were able to build a campaign around Zhang Xizhe by offering a high value incentive, a shirt signed by the Chinese star.

3     On the other hand, it is no surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo appears in the top 6. His 30th birthday post went viral with 3,693 well wishers. Chinese fans commonly support several different teams, often from different European leagues, which explains why it wasn’t just Real Madrid fans wishing him happy birthday.

Engagement: 3,693

What We Learned

The presence of celebrity players is the #1 reason why Chinese fans choose to follow a team.

4     With their second post in the top 6, VfL Wolfsburg ran a matchday prediction contest for the game against FC Augsburg giving away a signed jersey. It was not simply Chinese fans’ love of competition and prizes which led to the huge online reaction. The post was supported by two leading Weibo KOL accounts: 热门微博排行帮 ‘weibo trending topics’ and 今日头条新闻 ‘today’s top news’ with over 12 million followers between them.

Engagement: 3,449

What We Learned

Endorsement from online influencers and popular sports bloggers is mightily powerful in China and was used to great effect by Wolfsburg.

5     This post was truly a powerful demonstration of the importance of respect in Chinese culture. On the anniversary of the Munich plane crash football fans from all clubs came together to pay their respects.

Engagement: 3,096

What We Learned

Chinese fans demonstrate significant online engagement when it comes to emotional or inspirational moments.

6     This initiative was the first of it’s kind and was unique to China, which led to widespread popularity online. AS Roma wore a special Chinese New Year kit for two matches during China’s spring festival. This post announcing the new kit was very popular with 3,084 fans getting behind the club’s fashion statement.

Engagement: 3,084

What We Learned

Paying respect to Chinese customs and culture is highly valued amongst fans, and the club’s efforts demonstrated a clear appreciation for the support they receive in China.

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