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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March, 2003, 15:54 GMT
Siemens tackles China football boom
Chinese national football team
Chinese football enjoys an audience of 4 billion
Siemens, the German industrial giant that makes everything from vacuum cleaners to power stations, has bought itself exposure in the world's biggest football league.

The company's ambitious mobile phone division has signed a one-year deal to sponsor the Chinese football league, as well as the country's seven national teams.

The Chinese league boasts an annual television audience of tens of millions, and it is growing fast as international money pours in.

According to press reports, the German firm is paying less than 10m euros (6.5m; $11m) for the deal, compared with the 12m euros it pays to sponsor Spain's Real Madrid alone.

Billions of potential customers

Siemens has decided that sponsorship is a good-value way of promoting its consumer businesses.

As well as Real Madrid, it sponsors Liverpool football club in the UK and Bayern Munich in Germany, as well as a great number of community projects.

At a stroke, the deal gives Siemens 15 hours a day of state television exposure in China.

And the firm is hoping to boost the low international profile of Chinese football: it is persuading Bayern and Real to play games in China, and has enlisted sportswear maker Adidas to explore deals in China.

Next year, China aims to launch a football Super League, and Siemens has an option to remain sponsor when that happens.

Biggest, and getting bigger

Siemens Mobile sees China as full of promise.

Siemens monorail
China is a goldmine for Siemens

It is already the world's biggest mobile market, with 200 million subscribers, and promises world-beating growth in the coming decades.

Already, East Asia accounts for one-fifth of Siemens Mobile's revenues.

On a wider front, the company is eyeing China for a huge range of business projects, especially in rebuilding its ageing infrastructure.

Its biggest deal there to date involves building a 1.2bn-euro monorail line for the city of Shanghai.

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