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By Conal Urquhart in London | | Updated:2017-06-14 22:43Chinese investors have spent 2.15 billion euros ($2.4 billion) on soccer clubs, making them the worlds biggest buyer of teams.
Acquisitions of major stakes in clubs between 2014 and 2016, including Inter Milan in Italy, Reading in the United Kingdom, Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic, and Lyon in France, meant Chinese investors spent seven times more than entities from the United States, the next largest spender.
Research by London-based merger and acquisition specialist ThinkingLinking looked at investments by groups from 41 countries. The total spent by Chinese investors was larger than the combined sums of the next 40 countries.
The surge in investment followed President Xi Jinpings campaign to make China a major player in world soccer. In 2016, the National Development and Reform Commission, Chinas top economic regulator, announced Chinas plan to become a world soccer superpower by 2050.
After China, the US spent 313 million euros on clubs including Mallorca in Spain. Singapore investors spent 256 million euros on clubs including Valencia in Spain. Iran investors spent 253 million euros on clubs including Everton in the UK. UK investors spent 182 million euros on clubs including Melbourne City in Australia.
Mark Dixon, of ThinkingLinking, said no country had ever gone from being a non-investor to the largest investor in such a short period of time. China invested nothing in foreign clubs in 2014, 555 million euros in 2015, and 1.6 billion euros in 2016.
Dixon said China had “just decided to do it — both at the government and company level. Its the result of the countrys sheer ambition to become a major player in this field, globally, and to bring home the knowhow and kudos from each of these wins”.
According to the research, Chinese investors focused on high-profile clubs, and sought controlling stakes. In addition, different Chinese companies competed in foreign acquisitions, driving up the price.PhotoHuge fire engulfs 24-storey London tower blockProspects of US-China relations promising in various areas: think tankMay says Brexit talks to start as scheduled despite losing parliamentary majorityMay, DUP party close to signing accord to keep Conservatives in powerBike-share companies ride into the British high streetBritish PM says she takes responsibility for election resultMost Viewed in 24 HoursWeekly PhotoThe world in photos: June 5-11NewsmakerUbers CEO takes leave as recommended by outside teamWorlds longest pizza breaks Guinness Records in USSpecialPresident Xi visits Kazakhstan, attends SCO summitPremier Li visits Germany, Belgium, attends the China-EU Leaders MeetingReporters JournalInteractive tattoos could spell relief for diabeticsEducation should be lifelong, and so should the chance to dreamChina-JapanPeople are key to peace: former Japan officialChina-USUS sees another side of ChinaChina-EuropeTwo pandas from China greeted in NetherlandsChina-AfricaSudanese, Chinese doctors reflect human face of medical professionBACK TO THE TOPHOMECHINAWORLDBUSINESSLIFESTYLECULTURETRAVELWATCHTHISSPORTSOPINIONREGIONALFORUMNEWSPAPERChina Daily PDFChina Daily E-paperMOBILECopyright 1995 -var oTime = new Date();
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