How do European football clubs make themselves famous in China?

Let’s review the web presence in China of the best European clubs in 2015.

Below is a ranking of the most popular clubs in the Middle Kingdom.

So as you can see, the number of followers is not the only factor taken into account, there is also the commitment of the club to them, their ability to generate a buzz, their website in Chinese e- commerce and videos.

Although Real Madrid has only 4M followers, it is first in the standings, and Manchester United which groups the bigger number of fan, is only fourth. But what should clubs do to improve their positioning? Here we will tell you about the most effective strategies applied by the clubs who want to make their hole in the most populous country in the world which incidentally sees his interest in football tenfold (first sport watched on television).

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Their website is very important

Is it really necessary to recall that? All clubs of the top 10 have a website in mandarin from which the Chinese fans can follow the latest club news closely, as well as local supporters. Also some sites integrate into their interface an online store for sales of jerseys and objects relating to clubs. Thus the Chinese consumer with a reputation for paying attention to counterfeiting, will be seduced by an official store.

Buzz on social medias

The ranking above-mentioned highlights that buzz is very important in China and is one of the keys to the acquisition of a good online reputation. The buzz is thus determined by several factors. Whether seen by the number of original video (Real Madrid players wishing a Happy Chinese New Year) or the number of words on the club on social networks (in evening of big game such users will solicit keywords related to the club). When it comes to buzz, this is also the Real Madrid tops.

Here below the club wishes for the Chinese new year, we can see the every players and the coach to wish a good year for their Chinese fans.

Wechat, first Chinese social media

Football clubs have also the possibility to easily stay in touch with their fans through social networks including WeChat which allows to establish a real dialogue between the club and the Internet. This platform allows the club to build a database with information from the users, useful for targeting and promote goods or services related to soccer. But today only eight European clubs have an official presence on this platform , and Liverpool is the leader in terms of popularity .


Don’t forget e-commerce

Besides the fact that clubs can sell their products on their website, it is now essential for them to use Chinese e- commerce platforms to reach the Chinese market in the best ways. 9 clubs have adapted a platform to the market , but only Tottenham, English club , has a store on Tmall . The benefits on Tmall are ease of payment and delivery , while the clubs through other platforms need to manage the whole stapes of sales. This kind of platform is managed by specialized agencies.

Using leading players is the way to go

While European football clubs enjoy a considerable popularity on social networks in China, it remains low compared to some players. For the clubs, the players are the best brand ambassadors. Indeed, the Chinese fans will be more loyal to a particular player than to a club, which will have the effect, during the transfer of the player to also transfer the support of supporters for the destination club player. Therefore, it is important for clubs wishing to conquer China to capitalize on images of its players by creating different WeChat and Weibo accounts so that they can make themselves known in China and it will contribute to the popularity of clubs where they are playing.


To emphasize this devotion to the players rather than clubs you just have to look at some figures: in 2013 already, the club that had the most fan on Weibo had 4M while Messi alone in together nearly 16M or 4 once more …

Here: How much did WeChat pay Messi to be their ambassador ?

So, this study shows us how the integration strategies of football clubs and businesses are similar: social networks, e-commerce and buzz .

Thus as a business or football club you need to have an effective digital marketing strategy to integrate this Eldorado that is the Chinese market.

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