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Jack Ma: A trouble maker in the football industry

By Chen Yaping 01 Feb 2016

The recent CCTV-2 programme Dialogue has been hailed as a substantive panel show in terms of the football industry in China. 

The show was attended by the three Chinese business magnates-Liu Chuanzhi, founder of Lenovo, Wang Jianlin, Chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group and Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of the Alibaba Group.

When it came to football, Wang believed that he knew more about football, as an industry, than Jack Ma. At this point, Liu joked,“I owe you an apology, Jack, because I’ve been planning to invest in his (Wang’s) business. I have talked about this with him several times. It’s not only a business of Chinese business people, but of China as a whole. So it will make a big difference if he succeeds.”

Ma had his own opinion when he remarked, “It doesn’t matter what you know about football. There are at least 5 million people who know everything about football in China, but they have failed to boost the industry. The important thing is, whether you can carry out the football reform. Perhaps I don’t know the inside story or even don’t care, but I believe the reform is promising. I admire Mr. Wang’s dedication to football. When I ask myself whether I have the same courage, the answer is ‘No’. So I am a trouble maker in the industry, but I’ll be a loyal supporter behind the scenes.”

“When I invested in Guangzhou Evergrande FC, it wasn’t just to see them win games, but to get a view of the industry, to figure out why China fails in the football world. Mr. Wang doesn’t need more money, but he needs someone to share ideas with, and to find solutions.” Ma added.

Wang agreed with Ma’s statement. The Wanda chairman said, “China has a greater need for more reform mechanisms and game changers than money. ”

“It’s not only knowing how to win a match or how to train a MVP, but also how to to promote the sport as an industry” Liu concluded.

Proofread by John Devlin

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