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2015 in review: the sports business in China (IV)

By He Lanying 08 Jan 2016

2015 has been a prominent and fruitful year for Chinese sports development with a series of giant business deals and huge investments over past the 12 months. All the signs indicate that China’s influence in the global sports market is growing by the day. Now we will look back at some of the year’s headline-making news in the Chinese sports industry.



Letv Sports held a news conference in Beijing on May 13, officially announcing the result of the A and A+ rounds of fund raising. In the A and A+ rounds, it has raised 800 million yuan totally. 


Arena Capital, a joint venture established by by K-bird, HUPU and Greenwoods investment, was officially launched in Beijing on June 30, marking China’s first ever 2-billion investment fund in the sports industry.


LeTV Sports, the Chinese video-streaming service backed by billionaire Jack Ma, announced its plan to raise $500 million in Round B to fund acquisitions and enter businesses such as sales of sporting gear, chief executive officer Lei Zhenjian said.

Ledman Optoelectronic announced the setting up of a sports industry fund worth up to 500 million yuan.


The Chancellor of the UK announced £3 million funding for a Chinese grassroots soccer project, covering thousands of young people. This is sure to be a great boost for the game in China.

Chinese online sports streaming platform Zhangyu TV announced the completion of Round C fundraising valued at approximate RMB100 million, according to their founder Zhang Xuan.


China's Lander Sports announced the launch of a RMB 5bn joint sports investment foundation with Huanglong Sports and CCB International Wealth Management.


LeTV Sports Culture Develop (Beijing) Co. Ltd, together with Beijing Bird's Nest Culture & Creative Center, announced on November 17 the founding of the Bird’s Nest-Le Sports Cultural Industry Fund to raise RMB5 billion.

China's Beijing Hualu Baina Film & TV Inc. (HNB) announced the issue of up to 104 million shares to raise up to RMB2.199 billion in order to to boost their movie, variety show and sports event operations.

Business arm stretches to the European market


Chinese real estate developer Evergrande Group announced that it would open a soccer school in the Netherlands.


Letv Sports formally opened their American Headquarters, Le Sports US, showing the determination of CEO Lei Zhenjian's to put the Letv-branded board in place in Silicon Valley.


Letv, a revolutionary Chinese internet and technology company, expanded its reach into the Indian market with a plan to build a full-scale sports ecosystem in the country.

Sports reform plans


China launched its football talent development plan with the Ministry of Education envisaging 20,000 primary or middle schools with a football curriculum by 2017. The ministry said schools specialising in football would enjoy policy support in teaching, training, competitions, enrolment, funding and other areas.

The Chinese sports authority vowed to abandon the "gold medal supremacy" mentality -- a blind pursuit of gold medals -- that had previously guided its work, according to a statement released that month.

The General Administration of Sports (GAS) decided to relinquish its power to approve commercial games and games organized by the public, only retaining approval rights over national games, games of national interest and special games, in response to criticism of a lack of transparency in the approval of events.


Chinese government officially published a reform document for football on March 16, 2015, following the meeting headed by President Xi on Feb 27 where a proposal for football reform was discussed. The document consists of 50 reform points and details the requirements for many areas of the sport’s development.

The compilation of new soccer textbooks for Chinese primary and middle schools was scheduled for completion around the end of March, after the Ministry of Education named the sport a compulsory part of the national curriculum.


The State General Administration of Sports of China held a meeting with the China Football Association (CFA) on the morning of August 17 and officially announced the separation of  the CFA from the General Administration of Sports.


The annual review meeting of the Chinese Football Association (CFA) was held in Xi’anin November. It was decided that owners planning to sell clubs need to complete the transfer by January 10, 2016. After that, clubs will be banned from completing interprovincial transactions.

(There are four in total. This is the end of this serie.)

Proofread by John Devlin

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