In the next few months, Atlético will open 200 retail outlets throughout China. As such, the Spanish champions will have a bigger presence in China than any other European club. They will open these stores in the Wanda Malls, the shopping centres which are owned by Wang Jianlin. The businessman become recently became Atleti’s newest shareholder when he bought 20 per cent of the club earlier this year.
But in addition to selling the team’s merchandise, the shops will also be meeting points for all of Atlético’s Chinese fans and places where the club can encounter their supporters. Through these shops, the contact between the Chinese supporters with Atlético and their stars will be even closer. There will be screens where the players will leave messages in Chinese for the eastern market.
So, the Spanish champions are expanding toward a key market for the expansion of the Atlético brand. China is an emerging country where Atlético want to be a presence and the club want to instil an Atleti ‘sentiment’. The club will try to carry out a tour of the country so that Chinese supporters can see their idols up close.