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The Chinese sponsor behind Real Sociedad and Rayo: Qianbao

By Jiemian, translation by Yutang Sports 25 May 2015

The last round of games of La Liga was played on May 24. One of the ten games was Real Sociedad vs Rayo Vallecano de Madrid. What is interesting about this game is that both teams are sponsored by the same Chinese company, Qianbao. 

Qianbao is the jersey sponsor of the two teams in this season. The company’s logo which is made up of two Chinese characters appeared frequently in La Liga matches in this season. The game was named “Qianbao Derby”. This is not the only time that such a derby match happened. There was another time earlier in the season when Real Sociedad played against Rayo Vallecano de Madrid. 

Not many people knew about this Nanjing based company before it established partnership with the La Liga teams, but as a matter of fact, it entered the football world as early as 2013. In that year, it organized a football team which has the same name as itself, Qianbao FC. The team now is in Chinese Football Association Second League. 

Qianbao started to direct its investment in football towards Europe in the summer of 2014, signing partnerships with Real Sociedad and Rayo respectively. Although the exact prices have not been revealed, what is certain is that the prices were far less than the 320 million yuan that Wanda invested in Atletico Madrid earlier this year. 

Zhang Xiaolei, the CEO of Qianbao told reporters of Jiemian that, Qianbao is different from Wanda and could not be compared with them; however, the sponsorship has good values.

With jerseys printed with Chinese characters Qianbao appearing on the field, the brand has been receiving great returns from the exposures. 

Qianbao further plans to use the two teams to promote a mobile online game it is going to launch in the end of July. ChinaJoy, the football-themed game, will have players from the two clubs to help exhibit itself. 

Before the presentation, the two teams would do a friendly in Nanjing. Qianbao FC would also take part in the game. 

Apart from commercial interests, the non-football-fan Zhang said he was more willing to stress the value of the sponsorships for Chinese football. How is that? 

One of the reasons that Qianbao sponsored the teams was to help Chinese players to go to La Liga. A player from Beijing Guo’an is one of the candidates and he may go to Real Sociedad. This is also part of the reason why Qianbao upgraded partnership with the club to a full partnership in this March. 

However, Zhang is reluctant to express whether the transfer will work. He said that before the final signing of an agreement, everything could change. What’s more, sponsors are not able to influence whether a player will play on the field. 

Zhang Xiaolei described his investments as “building football ecosystems”,which is used to help Chinese football to escape from the current terrible conditions, as both partnerships include elements like youth training in Spain and improvements of the Chinese youth training systems. 

Zhao Xiaolei’s idea is to wait for the fruit to mature. When his Chinese young players return from Spain and his campus football training succeeds, his football team can then be upgraded to Chinese Super League naturally. 

Tags: LaLiga
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