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Chinese national sport rebrands under ‘TEAM CHINA’ identity

Chen Guiming of China competes at the Ready Steady Tokyo - Weightlifting, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games test event (by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)

Representatives from the Chinese General Administration of Sport (GAS), sports associations, athletes and sponsors announced a new collective brand for all of Chinese national sport named ‘TEAM CHINA’ at a press conference in Beijing last week.

This new image and unified title will include the Chinese national teams for various sports as well as when they attend global events as a collective or delegation.

Led by the Chinese Sports Administrative Centre division of the GAS, ‘TEAM CHINA’ is a marketing initiative similar to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s “TEAM USA” trademark, which allows the USOPC broad rights to control commercial uses of the brand and sponsorship deals for national funding of athletes and athlete programs.

The Chinese Sports Administrative Centre also announced a number of registered trademarks including ‘TEAM CHINA’, ‘TEAM CHN’ and other related logos and graphics. Its plan is to provide a holistic branding for China’s national federations, teams and athlete, as well as provide guidelines for the standardisation of marketing and sponsorship in Chinese sport. No details were provided as yet on how this new initiative will affect sponsorship and branding deals for individual sport federations and athletes.

Yan Yufeng, the director of the Chinese Sports Administrative Centre, said: “This collaboration by Chinese national teams and federations will help build a collective identity for Chinese sport and break new ground in how sport is experienced and it’s engagement with fans. It will help boost the value of Chinese sport properties, and provide the industry best practices on sports marketing in China as well.”

The first sponsor for the ‘TEAM CHINA’ initiative was unveiled, with China Resources Beverage, a bottled water company based in Shenzhen, stepping in as the official bottled water, and will provide more than 70 ‘TEAM CHINA’ national teams and sports their products during all their events. China Resources Beverage is a subsidiary of state-owned conglomerate China Resources Group, which owns a variety of businesses in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Zhang Weitong, the chief executive of China Resources Beverage, said: “Sports are rooted in our branding, and TEAM CHINA will give the Yibao brand a greater link with sports. Yibao will support our national team’s training and preparation with high-quality products and service, to contribute to our national cause.”