Following the departure of Yonghong Li and the “downgrade” of Jiang Lizhang to become minority owner of Parma, only Suning remains to represent China in Italian football. An even stronger presence, as underlined by La Repubblica, with the imminent entry of LionRock Capital.

“The Chinese desire in football no longer has the momentum of the past few years. This retreat seems to have one exception: Inter of Suning. China, via Hong Kong, are preparing to get 100% of the Nerazzurri with the purchase of Thohir’s shares by the LionRock Capital investment fund which already has Suning as its partner in is portfolio.”

Looking at the rest of Europe, there are not many clubs that are still protagonists in football to have this much support from the Chinese economy in terms of sponsorships.

“Wolverhampton of Fosun International – according to La Repubblica – were promoted to the Premier League but are far from the Champions League. So it is Inter that can get benefits from Chinese football money. Beyond the investments of the Zhang family, more than €120M from sponsorships will come over the Great Wall each year. Sunning contributes €16.5M with the naming right of Pinetina, together with bonuses, Inter received €23M from them last year. The most visible company at the San Siro stadium is Fullshare Holdings, active in the field of children education and  in services for tourism. Fullshare sends the Nerazzurri €10M a year. But a big chunk of it is coming from two agencies that have bought the rights of Inter brand in the far East: Beijing Imedia and Beijing Yixinshijie, €23.1M and €25M a year respectively. This massive flow of money is more than a third of the total revenues of Inter. And it is destined to grow with the entry of LionRock.”

Even if Suning wanted to leave, the prospects would be excellent for the company’s coffers.

“In financial circles, it is noted that this 100% Chinese control makes it easier to deal with potential club buyers. And there are those who ensure that Suning would set the basis for this transaction starting at €800M, even if those directly involved guarantee that Suning has no intention to sell the club.”

Source: La Repubblica

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