Two Bundesliga clubs have opened offices in China as they aim to tap into the booming football market in the world's most populous nation. Bayern Munich have opened theirs in Shanghai, while Wolfsburg opted for Beijing.
Bayern Munich's chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, was in Shanghai on Wednesday to attend the opening ceremony for the Bundesliga club's first office in Asia.
"We have always had wonderful experiences on our trips to China and have felt the high reputation of our club here," Rummenigge told 120 guests at the opening ceremony.
Among the others in attendance were former Bayern players Giovane Elber and Bixente Lizarazu, who now serve as club ambassadors.
"We have a broad fan base in China with more than 136 million followers, who we want to engage with even further," said Jörg Wacker, Bayern board member responsible for international strategy.
"Given this rapid development in football, we will offer the right solutions to the Chinese market - especially in the youth sector."
The Bundesliga champions are to tour Asia prior to the start of the 2017-18 season with matches against Arsenal, Chelsea, AC Milan and Inter Milan. The Shanghai office is Bayern's second foreign office - after the one they established in New York in 2014.
Wolfsburg opt for the capital
Meanwhile, fellow Bundesliga side Wolfsburg held a similar ceremony to open their first foreign office, located in the Audi China Management Center in Beijing.
"Wolfsburg have already established themselves in China over the past few years and we enjoy great respect here," the club's managing director, Thomas Röttgermann, told the approximately 150 people in attendance at the opening ceremony.
He added that the Chinese market was of great importance due to its "unique combination of enormous euphoria for German football, concentrated economic power and huge state interest in football." According to the club, more than one million Chinese fans follow Wolfsburg via social media.
Among those in attendance were Zvjezdan Misimovic, a member of Wolfsburg's 2009 Bundesliga title-winning team and former New Zealand international as well as former Kaiserslautern and Werder Bremen striker, Wynton Rufer, who now serves as a German football league (DFL) ambassador.
pfd/ (dpa, SID)