There are growing concerns about China’s slowing economy and the tactics the government is likely to pursue to defend itself. The result might be sustained deflation as China lowers its currency to make its products cheaper abroad.
But that’s not the only initiative coming out of Beijing. There’s also a huge effort to create a domestic service and entertainment economy. Witness Xi Jiping’s attempts to develop a Chinese football industry.
There were reports this weekend that Liu Yiqian, now rivaling the Qataris as the buyer most speculated upon when there’s a big art purchase, made an offer for the Premier League’s Liverpool:
Henry’s Fenway Sports Group received an unsolicited offer to buy Liverpool from Liu Yiqian, a magnate who is worth £2.5bn and is China’s 47th richest man, but ignored the approach.
Bloomberg also spent the weekend looking at China’s concentrated focus on acquiring football assets abroad and producing a domestic league with all of the subsidiary industries:
Chinese President Xi Jinping, an avid soccer fan, is fueling the spending spree. He’s eager for China to improve its global soccer standing: The national team is ranked 81st, just after Jordan and before Bolivia. And he covets hosting a World Cup — and winning it by 2050. That’s providing the green light for Chinese businesses, eager to please the government, to open their wallets.
Coinciding with Xi’s zeal for the game is an effort on the part of the government to promote sports and exercise to the new urban working class, recently transplanted from farms. A national plan announced last year contains the audacious goal of spurring an industry worth 5 trillion-yuan ($747 billion) by 2025, when 50,000 schools are expected to offer specialized soccer training.
One last element to this story, if Liu Yiqian did make an offer as part of a coordinated effort directed by Xi, it suggests his art buying is of a similarly party-sanctioned ilk.
Chinese tycoon’s Anfield bid fails (The Times & The Sunday Times)
Chinese Billions Flood Soccer, Snaring Hulk in Record Deal (Bloomberg)