Chinese Companies Top World Cup Sponsors List, Outspend U.S. Counterparts

Chinese companies are spending more than twice the amount that their U.S. counterparts are willing to spend in ad dollars for the soccer World Cup – $835 million – a recent report by Yicai said.

Chinese sponsors have increased in number to seven from only one four years ago and now spread across three levels of support. Dalian Wanda Group, Hisense Group, Mengniu Dairy, Vivo Communication Technology, Yadea Technology Group, Zhidianyijing Virtual Reality Technology and Diking China are the companies paying out the World Cup ad dollars.

The World Cup provides the right ‘context,’ the conditions and circumstances to launch a global marketing campaign, Forbes wrote. This is something Chinese companies need, as they try to take its “Made in China” campaign for the world market and compete effectively with established brands from the U.S., Japan, and Europe.

Last year, only one Chinese company, Huawei, made it to Forbes 2018 World’s Most Valuable List, filled with mostly American brands. Eight out of the top ten brands on the list, for instance, are made in America, with the remaining two made in Japan and Korea.

Still, Huawei’s presence on the list for the second year in a row is a big improvement from five years ago, when no Chinese brand made it to the list. Companies from the country are hoping that spending big bucks on the World Cup will help more Chinese firms make it to the list.

Wanda Group spent $150 million in 2016 to become a first-tier FIFA sponsor, gaining all advertising and marketing rights to every FIFA event in the next four World Cups. Hisense Group, Mengniu Dairy, and Vivo have become second-tier sponsors who make up 60 percent of the total number at this level.

The World Cup has always been one of the greatest money-magnet sporting events. People willing to support the sponsor brands of the World Cup account for about 73 percent, and 60 percent believe brands sponsoring the World Cup are influential, while 55 percent are more willing to purchase products of event sponsors, data by market survey firm Nielsen reveals. This sports event is not only a carnival for global soccer fans, however, but also a battlefield for major brand owners.