Real Madrid teams up with Alibaba as European football chases Chinese football market

Joe Hall
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Real Madrid played a series of friendlies in China this summer (Source: Getty)

While players at Europe's biggest football clubs duke it out in the Champions League, their commercial departments are battling it out for dominance of the lucrative Chinese market.

Read more: Real Madrid stadium could be renamed "Abu Dhabi Bernabeu" due to UAE investment

Real Madrid are the latest of Europe's giants to lead the charge into China, partnering with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group to launch a new online store for fans in the country.

Tmall Global, Alibaba's consumer retail site, will host a dedicated Real Madrid site on its platform.

"Today, we continue to reach out to this incredible country", gushed Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.

"Initiating this new path is an honour for us, and without a doubt, teams up with the global player and absolute leader in global e-commerce.

"This strategic alliance allows us to launch the official Real Madrid store in China for more than 600m consumers online."

Madrid follow Bayern Munich and Juventus is joining forces with Tmall to spread their brand to the rapidly growing market of football fans in China.

Both teams visited China this month along with Inter Milan and AC Milan to play in pre-season tournament the International Champions Cup. Both Milan clubs, as well as Manchester United, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal and a host of other European clubs, have also signed lucrative commercial partnerships with Chinese companies.

Madrid's Alibaba deal is its second commercial deal with a Chinese company, following its sponsorship agreement with electric car manufacturer Luyuan.

In 2012 it set up a Real Madrid Soccer School in Guangdong Province and have invited over 100 Chinese football coaches to training sessions in Madrid.

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