The Chinese mega brands sponsoring the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Chinese Brands Sponsoring World Cup FIFA 2018

Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Switzerland, South Korea, Japan out. China IN big time. For the first time, Chinese brands sponsoring world cup on a large scale.

China, despite the countries investments in building up a professional and competitive soccer league, did not qualify for the 2018 world cup. But guess what, China is IN big time as sponsors for the FIFA world cup tournament.

If you have been watching the 2018 World Cup you must have noticed the Chinese sponsorship that FIFA received. 4 out of 12 main sponsors are Chinese. As some of these brands remain largely unknown to the public outside of China (believe me this will change quickly), I think it is valuable to reveal the story behind this companies. So let’s get started and get to know the Chinese brands sponsoring World Cup!

Chinese Brands Sponsoring World Cup


Wanda Group – 万达集团

The world’s biggest private property developer and owner of the world’s largest cinema chain “Wanda cinema”. 130.000 employees, 40 bn USD revenue, headquarters in Beijing. Wanda’s scale is just impressive. The Wanda Group owns 6000 movie screens and owns 21.5 million square meters of space. To put this in perspective let us have a look at the largest square in the world, the Tiananmen (天安门广场) square in Beijing is about 444,000 square meters and accommodates 1 million people. Wanda owns about 50 such squares of developed properties! Wanda’s founder Wang Jianlin, with a net worth of 30 bn USD one of the richest men in Asia, is a fanatic football fan. It is thus not surprising that he secured a 20% ownership of Atlético Madrid and an exclusive deal with the DFB (Deutscher Fussball Bund).

2018 world cup china sponsoring wanda group


Hisense – 海信集团

Hisense is a real household name in China because of its long standing history as a major appliance and electronics manufacturer. Fridges, washing machines, air condition, and most importantly TVs are what Hisense is about. Market leader for 13 years with a dual strategy. Hisense is both selling directly under the brand Hisense but also as OEM. Chances that parts of your TV are coming from Hisense are high. Hisense is the global number 3 when it comes to producing televisions. Already a huge sponsor in the Euro 2016, Hisense was the first Chinese sponsor of such an event. The company also installed the biggest video cube in Europe in the Schalke 04 arena. On the innovation side, Hisense is one of the leaders inpioneering laser TV’s – with Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant on board.


2018 world cup china sponsoring hisense


Vivo – 维沃移动通信有限公司

Vivo is one of the big 4 Chinese smartphone players. The others beeing Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi. Together they are totaling to about 70% of all smartphone shipments in China. Sorry Apple! Founded only in 2009, Vivo made it into the top 10 smartphone makers already in 2015. Vivo’s parent company BKK Electronics is also running OPPO, another smartphone giant emerging from China. Interestingly, BKK started their commercial success with a device called “步步高复读机“, which is a special-purpose cassette player. It had the ability to listen to an English teacher sentence by sentence. Also students can record themselves repeating the sentence and thus comparing themselves with the teacher. According to a very reliable source (my Chinese wife), literally everyone had this in school in the 90s. Back to Vivo now. Operating in 100 countries already, Vivo recently entered Pakistan and Nepal with their entry level phones. The low end phones are definitely their cash-cows, one example being the VivoY71, retailing for about EUR 130. Vivo’s recent claim of fame is the incredible good looking Vivo Nex which is incorporating a lot of top-notch tech advancements. The Nex is the first smartphone with no bezels, no notch, and a selfie camera that pops up from the case only if you need it.


2018 world cup china sponsoring vivo


Mengniu Dairy – 蒙牛

Mengniu Dairy is a privately owned company and a large manufacturer and distributor of dairy products and ice cream in China. Based in Inner Mongolia, employing about 30,000 people with an annual turnover of about 2 bn USD. Typical products are milk and yogurt. Mengniu is famous for it’s high profile advertising campaigns – one time advertising “special milk for China’s astronauts” after launching Shenzhou 5 and Shenzhou 6 spacecraft. Danone, is holding a minority stake in Mengniu of 9.9% where COFCO (biggest state-owned food company in China) acts as the majority stakeholder.

2018 world cup china sponsoring mengniu

Chinese Brands Sponsoring World Cup – What is the takeaway of this?

In the 2014 World cup there was only 1 Chinese company (Yingli solar) participating in sponsorship. Today we have Wanda, Vivo, Mengniu and Hisense entering the global stage for advertising with their commitments for the FIFA 2018 world cup. China is producing a new league of mega-brands right now that will soon play on the international stage. In every industry, in every location. 14 Chinese Brands already made it into the Top100 of the 2018 BrandZ study.

The sponsorship we see today is just the beginning. I believe that this will be a wake-up call for some, since these new mega-brands will eventually enter your markets and sell to your customers. Most important it is real opportunity to enter new partnerships and collaborations with Chinese players eager to develop their business abroad to unlock new markets together.

Thanks for reading about Chinese Brands Sponsoring World Cup, Thomas.

If you would like to read my posts, please add me on LinkedIn or add me on WeChat. I write and speak about innovation and China’s digital ecosystem.

About: I am Dr. Thomas Reinbacher an independent adviser and freelance consultant based in Germany and China. In the past I was: engagement manager at McKinsey and Company; Computer scientist (PhD, Graduated sub-auspiciis presidentis ); visiting scientist NASA Ames Research Center at Silicon Valley. I lived, studied (ZheJiang University 浙江大学) and worked for about 3 years in China (NanJing, HangZhou, BeiJing), and I am fluent in Mandarin.

Disclaimer: This article on Chinese Brands Sponsoring World Cup is provided as is and reflect my personal opinions.