China football
Image: © Doha Stadium Plus Qatar via Wikipedia

China is filling the sponsorship gaps in the Russia World Cup

President Xi Jiping wants the country to be a 'football world superpower' by 2050

Despite not actually having qualified for the tournament, Chinese fans, businesses, and politicians are really psyched about the World Cup.

What it means: Back in 2015 when there was that big corruption scandal with FIFA, China wasn't really listening, or didn't seem to think it was a reason to stop engaging in business with the company.

When a few Western firms dropped out of sponsoring the tournament, Chinese firms were right behind them to fill the gap. Wanda Group, China's largest property company, is one of the seven official partners, and three out of five official sponsors are Chinese.

The government is set on China being a 'world football superpower' by 2050, and building 60,000 more football fields by 2020. 100,000 Chinese people are expected to go to Russia to watch (compared to 10,000 British fans.)

China hasn't actually qualified for the tournament since 2002 – companies are investing $835 million in advertising around this World Cup alone in an attempt to generate as much national interest as possible.

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