Borussia Dortmund chief executive officer Hans-Joachim Watzke has said that the German Bundesliga club will be increasing efforts in reaching out to the Chinese and Asian markets over the next few years.
Speaking to Xinhua, he said: “We are determined to concentrate even more on the Asian markets than we did the past.”
Watzke spoke about the popularity of several Borussia Dortmund players in Asia such as Marco Reus, Mats Hummels, and new signing Julian Brandt, who is the fourth most popular Bundesliga player in China, according to market surveys.
“We still remember our last trip (to China) and the enthusiasm sparked by our legends team last year,” Watzke said.
Apart from Borussia Dortmund, the other clubs in the Bundesliga, as well as the Bundesliga itself are looking at expanding their outreach to their Chinese fanbase.
In early July at the ISPO Shanghai, the Bundesliga and its clubs Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04, Borussia Monchengladbach, Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen sent high-level representatives.
Patrick Stueber, the head of Bundesliga China, said at the Chinese sports trade event: “In China, our main goal is to bring Chinese fans closer to the Bundesliga, and give fans the opportunity to get in touch with the clubs directly.”
Stueber has played a key role in the development of a wide-ranging marketing strategy designed to build on the league’s large following in the country, which has been steadily growing since the 1990s thanks to regular coverage of the league by long-term supporter, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
Martin Thiess, the general manager for Borussia Monchengladbach in China, said after his club had just completed their first China tour with a friendly against Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F:” It’s not just about a friendly match. What’s very special about this trip is that we have held public football events in the two cities we visited, Guangzhou and Shanghai, because we want to contribute to the development of Chinese football.”
Bundesliga International has played a key role in building a relationship between German and Chinese football following a knowledge-sharing agreement established in 2016 by German chancellor Angela Merkel, China’s president Xi Jinping and footballing authorities from both nations.
Outside of Germany, China is one of the most-engaged Bundesliga fanbases, with over 2.6 million Weibo users following the league via the social network.