City Football Group, UBTECH and China Sports Capital have announced the joint purchase of Chinese Club Sichuan Jiuniu FC, in the China League Two, in Chengdu, attended by Government Officials, the Club’s fans and senior executives of the new ownership group.
The move marks a natural development of the three new owners’ commitment to participate in the long-term development of football in China.
City Football Group (CFG) is the owner of a number of football related businesses with global relevance. These include high profile professional football clubs, academies, technical support and marketing companies. CFG’s clubs include Premier League Champions Manchester City FC and New York City FC in Major League Soccer.
Sichuan Jiuniu FC becomes the Group’s seventh Club. City Football Group’s presence in China includes offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen, several commercial partnerships, community projects and a strong record of football education, with City coaches operating in schools in cities around China as part of a Chinese Ministry of Education programme.
China Sports Capital was jointly established by CMC Inc. and Sequoia China in 2017. The fund focuses on investment opportunities from the commercialisation and innovation of the global sports industry where China is highly relevant. CMC Inc. acquired a minority shareholding in City Football Group in December 2015.
UBTECH is a global leading AI and humanoid robotic company. Headquartered in Shenzhen, UBTECH has been a commercial partner of Manchester City since 2016.
Ferran Soriano, Chief Executive Officer of City Football Group said: “Today marks an exciting new chapter in the growth of City Football Group. China is an extremely important football market, which we have been focused on for some time. We are delighted to welcome Sichuan Jiuniu FC to our Group, alongside our partners, China Sports Capital and UBTECH. We see this as a natural extension of our existing activities. From our work together at Manchester City and across CFG, our relationships with CMC Inc., China Sports Capital and UBTECH make us very confident that we have established a strong ownership group which is well placed to oversee this Club.
“We believe strongly in the future of football in China. We are making a long-term, sustainable commitment to grow and develop Sichuan Jiuniu FC and to nurture Chinese footballing talent. These objectives are equally important. Our immediate focus will be strengthening our football performance, using all of our experience and know-how, forging a strong relationship with our fans and building a strong presence in the community. We cannot wait to get started.”
James Zhou, Founder and CEO, UBTECH, said: “Today is an important moment for football in China. We all have a dream to develop Sichuan football and Chinese football. Sichuan Jiuniu Football Club was formed by the 2017 Sichuan National Games U20. The team reflects the spirit of Sichuan football. It is very exciting for a young and promising team to join as a family.
“This also marks an important step for the UBTECH ecosystem, which combines AI with education and sports. This strategy has taken an important step forward. We believe that innovative AI technology can empower the football industry and promote the development of the new football industry and we will focus on that in the future.”
“Through UBTECH’s partnership with Manchester City, we have worked with 32 primary schools in Manchester, equipping students with valuable skills to help prepare them for upcoming and future trends in the digital world, using UBTECH robots to help them to learn. We believe this approach can help the future of education and of football.
“We hope that the Sichuan Jiuniu Football Club will become a century-old club with an open and inclusive attitude. We look forward to working with our partners who love football and support the development of Sichuan football in China.”
“We can’t be more excited about this partnership.” said Sheng Li, Managing Partner of China Sports Capital, “We have always believed in the long-term opportunity of football in China and have been making our efforts to contribute through our investment portfolio. With City Football Group and UBTECH as our partners, we are committed to build Sichuan Jiuniu FC into one of the most professional football clubs in China with long-term sustainability and develop an ever-growing pool of talented young players for our football industry in China by leveraging City Football Group’s professional expertise and global network, and UBTECH’s industry leading Artificial Intelligence tools and R&D capability.”