English Premier League club Liverpool has announced plans to launch a Chinese-language website.
The club has linked up with Chinese sports portal Hupu.com to launch the site. Working with the club’s Shanghai-based media agency, Mailman Group, Liverpool was the first European club to enter the online Chinese market in July 2011 with the launch of an official presence on the SinaWeibo platform. The club have since launched three more official accounts in China through the TencentWeibo, Youku and Weixin (WeChat) platforms.
An independent survey conducted for the Premier League estimates Liverpool have 170 million potential fans in China and the club now boasts more followers on social media from China than any other country in the world. Hupu.com already provides a Liverpool forum that receives 200,000 views every day, and Liverpool said that the launch of the new website forms part of an ongoing five-year-plan to establish the Merseyside outfit as China’s favourite overseas football club.
“This is a very exciting time for Liverpool FC as we see China as a key market in terms of the club’s international expansion,” Liverpool’s chief media officer Matthew Baxter said. “Only last month we announced the launch of a first football academy for the club in Guilin City. We have a passionate fan base in China which is growing at an extraordinary rate and we believe this new website will help enhance the relationship between the club and our Chinese fans. We have enjoyed great success working with Mailman Group since 2011 and we believe that our new partnership with HUPU will allow us to deliver an engaging and vibrant website for both fans and future Chinese partners.” HUPU chief executive Shawn Cheng added: “The Chinese sports market has really opened up recently, and we expect to see explosive growth over the coming 10 years.”