Arsenal have launched a Chinese-language website here in a bid to broaden the club’s global fan base and increase its support in the far east.
Manager Arsene Wenger said he hoped the new site would turn “all” of China’s 1.3 billion people into supporters of the club.
“Of course you now have the largest population in the world and we would like to make them all Arsenal fans,” Wenger said in a video message to the website launch ceremony here.
Arsenal are following in the footsteps of Chelsea, who opened a similar site earlier this year, and Premier League champions Manchester United, who are also keen to tap into the Chinese market.
Arsenal managing director Keith Edelman signed the joint venture agreement here under which Tom.Com hosts the website, will share the content of the club’s English site. China’s sports newspaper Titan Sports Weekly will oversee the Chinese content.
Edelman said Arsenal hopes to double its Chinese fan base within the next two years.
“We know we have about 50 million fans in the world who support Arsenal and we believe that about four million of them would sit in China,” he said.
“But we hope that with these new venues with Tom.com and Titan Sports that we should be more than doubling that figure over the next 12 months, 24 months.
Edelman said that the club would be working on joint ventures in China along similar lines to the club’s work in Thailand and Vietnam, where Arsenal run football clinics for local youths.
“We believe we will make a significant contribution to football in those countries as we hope to do in China,” Edelman said.
“We are very excited about today and we’re very excited about the future in China.”