China Updates

Weibo to host mega sports event in Guangdong

China’s social media behemoth, Weibo, is teaming up Hong Kong-based event agency, Branded, to host the second instalment of Sports Connects, one of the largest events dedicated to China’s burgeoning sports industry.

The three-day sports forum, set to take place at Mission Hills golf resort in November, will unite key players in China’s rapidly growing sports economy alongside international powerbrokers, providing insight, connections and business opportunities.

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The inaugural event in 2017 attracted more than 500 industry leaders and organisers are confident that this year’s event will bring in even larger crowds.

Weibo’s senior director of hot topics and sports, Zhe Zhang, said: “We are very pleased to co-host the Sports Connects sports forum. Weibo has been committed to linking events, clubs and players with hundreds of millions of users through social platforms; Weibo also looks forward to helping China strengthens its links with the global sports industry.”

The growth of China’s sports industry is largely spurred by direct government intervention. The Chinese government plans to build a $813 billion sports industry by 2025. Nielson Sports estimates that technology, mostly online media platforms, is central to the market’s growth, with 82% of sports fans coming from cities other than Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

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English football legend, Rio Ferdinand, at Sports Connects 2017


Jasper Donat, CEO of Branded added: “Bringing the Sports Matters fraternity back to China is a crucial step in our mission to build the foundation for a sustainable Asian sports industry. With so many of the world’s largest sporting events heading to Asia over the coming years, 2018 is a big year in global sport and China is in the driving seat.”

Sports Connects will once again be hosted at the world’s largest golf facility, Mission Hills in Dongguan, a fully-integrated luxury resort spanning 22sq km and 12 golf courses in the heart of China’s Greater Bay Area. The founder of Mission Hills Group, the late David Chu, was a pioneer in the development of China’s sports industry and widely regarded as the ‘father of golf’ in China. He also played a major role in Beijing’s successful bid for the 2008 Olympic Games.

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Tenniel Chu, group vice chairman, Mission Hills


Tenniel Chu, group vice chairman of Mission Hills, said: “Being the home of Sports Connects is very much part of our mission to bring China to the world and the world to China. We look forward to welcoming the world back to Mission Hills China in November.”

Sports Connects will take place from 26–28 November 2018, at Mission Hills, Dongguan, China. Attendance by invitation only.