Why is retail giant Suning going for one of Europe´s largest soccer clubs, while other Chinese tycoons went for the smaller fish? It is part of the firm´s global strategy, expending into Europe, says Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun China rich list in the International Business Times.
The International Business Times:
For Suning President Zhang, who set up his first small shop in 1990 and turned Suning into a retail giant that has ridden the internet wave and had a turnover of some $24 billion last year, it’s another stage in what are reported to be plans to build a “sports eco-system,” as the company, like many Chinese industry giants, seeks to diversify. And he made no secret of his desire to boost his company’s international profile.
“The acquisition of Inter is a strategic move. Ours is an international business and our brand will soon be big in Europe too,” he said.
“Zhang has a global vision — you can see his ambition” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and Chief Researcher of Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based consultancy focused on China’s entrepreneurs.
“He’s built a retail ecosystem, and he’s already become a big real estate developer. He’s built the tallest building in Nanjing, and now he’s building a hotel near Shanghai’s Bund – if you have ambitions you have to be there,” he said. “And it’s clear that [China’s entrepreneurs] are now going into football because it’s on the national agenda.”
And Hoogewerf said that Suning’s purchase was on a different level from Wang Jianlin’s investment in Atletico Madrid, or web giant Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma’s purchase of a half-stake in China’s top club Guangzhou Evergrande.
“Suning buying Milan will up the ante for all the [Chinese] entrepreneurs,” he said. “In the past they’ve bought smaller foreign clubs, or a smaller stake, but Suning are buying one of the big names in European soccer.”
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