Earlier this week, Chinese outfielder Xu Guiyuan made headlines when he signed with Major League Baseball's Baltimore Orioles. MLB's entry and expansion in China, however, started a long time ago.
As the world's most populous country, China has become a focal point for many international sports organizations seeking global expansion. With the missions to bring baseball to another side of the globe and to identity fresh talents, Major League Baseball began its activities in China more than ten years ago.
According to MLB, it entered a development agreement with the Chinese Baseball Association in 2003, gaining the right to scout and sign Chinese players, as well as staffing US baseball veterans Jim Lefebvre and Bruce Hurst on the Chinese national team.
MLB now has three Development Centers on the Chinese mainland, in Wuxi, Changzhou and Nanjing. Rob Palmer, the head coach at the Wuxi Center says the goal of these centers is to bring MLB closer to Chinese fans.
In addition to running the centers, MLB says its activities in China have also included youth and grassroot school programs, exchanges between Chinese and American teams, broadcast deals and merchandize sales.