• Andrew Collins

The Milan Derby Online in China

The “Derby della Madonnina”, is the derby fixture between A.C. Milan and Inter Milan, with the latest match set to kick off this Sunday attracting millions of Chinese fans. Both teams came to China for their pre-season tour at the International Champions Cup tournament, so which club has made the greatest progress on Chinese social media since?  

Growth and Loss

Since A.C. Milan re-launched their Weibo on July 2nd, the account has grown by 90.000 followers, the highest across any European football club. Meanwhile, Inter Milan has actually lost 4.000 followers.

Why: AC Milan secured promotion from Sina Weibo around their top quality content, especially around the China Tour exclusive videos, driving a larger number of fans to their account.


Vocal Fan Base

As A.C. Milan grew its fan base, the club also became the fourth most engaged European team on Weibo, with the highest level of fan comments per post by any club. Despite Manchester United having a far higher level of followers, A.C. Milan has been able to out-perform them with a higher level of engagement per post. Inter Milan were the 12th most engaged European club, around 4.5 times less engaged than AC Milan.

Why: AC Milan’s typically older fan base in China who were exposed to the league in the 1990’s are an active demographic online, providing insightful comments that drive further conversation on posts

New Platforms

In August, A.C. Milan launched their official WeChat account, joining Inter Milan who launched on the platform in July 2014. A.C. Milan currently has an average of 7,000 daily reads, around 4 times higher than Inter Milan’s daily reads. Similarly, A.C. Milan launched their Youku channel to provide behind-the-scenes video content from the China tour.  Inter Milan launched their official account on the platform over two years ago; however, they haven’t updated it for more than 12 months.

Inter Milan moved early in the market as the first football club on Weibo, and ahead of A.C. Milan on other channels. However, this head-start has not resulted in a significant lead in their China digital presence, falling behind the Rossoneri on multiple platforms.

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