Manchester United has today announced a new sponsorship with Chinese soft drinks manufacturer Wahaha.
The new three-year deal will see the popular drinks brand become the club’s first official soft drinks partner in China.
Wahaha has been the largest beverage producer in China for the past 11 years, with branded products including milk drinks, soft drinks, energy drinks, bottled water, bottled tea, fruit juice, porridges and yoghurt beverages.
Founded in 1987, the company’s founder and CEO, Mr Zong Qinghou, led the celebrations for Wahaha’s 25th anniversary in Hangzhou at the opening of the group’s new shopping mall, just a year after United manager Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated his own 25th anniversary at the helm of the club.
With 108million followers in China, United's latest commercial partnership to be announced this season will enable the club to engage with the country’s growing fan base.
The Reds' commercial director, Richard Arnold, said:
"This is the club’s first sponsorship of its kind in China and we are delighted to be able to work with a company which, like Manchester United, is dedicated to innovation and leadership in its field. Wahaha is one of the most iconic brands in China and one that has come to symbolise the dynamism and strength of the modern Chinese economy. What better way to endorse this modern-day success story than to partner with the number one club in the world’s biggest sport?
"Manchester United has a long association with China, visiting 11 times to play friendly matches. The first time was in 1975 and the most recent visit in August last year. Sir Alex and his team were overwhelmed with the welcome they received from fans who packed the stadium in Shanghai. This new collaboration between United and Wahaha will enable us to engage with our local followers all year round through great products and activities."
Wahaha chief executive officer Zong Qinghou said: