Chinese tycoon to build world’s most profitable sports company

Beijing : A Chinese billionaire is planning to build the world’s most profitable sports company as the Communist country gears up to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Wang Jianlin, a Chinese billionaire who heads the country’s largest real estate developer Wanda Group, said he planned to add “new content” to Wanda Sports to make it a company with an annual income of more than USD 10 billion.

“We plan to keep merging and add new content into our sports branch. Wanda Sports aim to become the world’s first sports company with an annual income of more than 10 billion US dollars,” Wang said.

Wang’s comments came after the Chinese government mapped out a plan last year, aiming to grow the country’s sports sector into a 5-trillion-yuan (USD 813 billion) industry by 2025.

“China’s sports industry is still in its cradle but the government has launched a plan to promote it and set a goal of 5 trillion yuan in scale. If the goal is realised, sports really is a very promising industry,”said Wang, who recently visited India for investment opportunities.

“The significance of establishing Wanda Sports is not only to integrate Wanda’s interests in sports, but also to truly expand and strengthen Wanda’s businesses in the industry,” he added.

Wanda Group has announced that Philippe Blatter, FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s nephew, has been appointed as president and CEO of Wanda Sports, a sports company also established by the group.

Setting up the company was Wang’s latest move to seize a big share of China’s sports industry cake, which seems all the more lucrative as Beijing won the right to host 2022 Winter Olympic Games, stat-run Xinhua news agency reported.

In less than a year, Wanda bought stake in Spanish La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, spending about 11.6 billion yuan (about USD 1.85 billion).

The Chinese government’s announcement has expectations and drawn huge investment into the sports sector.

E-commerce titan Alibaba also showed great interest as they first paid 1.2 billion yuan (about 192 million US dollars) for 50 per cent stake in Guangzhou Evergrande, China’s most successful soccer club and two-time Asian Champions League winner.

The Nasdaq-listed company, which has business cooperations with German champions Bayern Munich, Spanish giants Real Madrid and NBA star Kobe Bryant, then launched its own sports company in September to focus on professional sports.

Two other internet companies LeTV and Tencent also jumped on the bandwagon by establishing respective sports companies.