Liverpool Football Club today announced plans to launch its first ever official Chinese language website.
Liverpool FC, one of the world's most historic and famous football clubs, today announced a new partnership with China's leading sports portal Hupu.com to launch its official website in China.
Ian Rush, Liverpool's record goal scorer and club ambassador, joined officials from HUPU and LFC to formally announce the new partnership on stage at the second HUPU International Sport Marketing Summit in Shanghai.
Working with the club's Shanghai-based media agency Mailman Group, Liverpool FC were the first European football 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 - TencentWeibo, Youku and Weixin (WeChat).
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.
The launch of the website in January is designed to further increase the club's engagement with Chinese fans and offer Chinese companies the opportunity to partner with Liverpool FC and reach millions of passionate football fans. The launch of the new website forms part of an ongoing five-year-plan to establish Liverpool FC as China's favourite overseas football club.
Matthew Baxter, chief media officer at LFC, said: "We're delighted to be in Shanghai to announce our partnership with HUPU. 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. 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."
As the popularity of English football in China continues to grow, Hupu.com is leading the way as China's number one football portal - 30 million monthly unique visitors with a Liverpool forum which receives 200,000 views every day - and the partnership with HUPU will be integral to the club's development in the region.
Shawn Cheng, CEO of HUPU, said: "The Chinese sports market has really opened up recently, and we expect to see explosive growth over the coming 10 years. Liverpool FC have chosen the perfect time to increase their investment into the Chinese market, and in choosing HUPU as a partner, they will benefit hugely from our highly international exposure and, more importantly, our deep understanding of the Chinese sports market."
Liverpool FC, HUPU and Mailman Group have already begun the process of building the website and exploring media and commercial partnerships within the region for online, social and TV content offerings.