Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bayern Munich launches club website in Chinese

Bayern Munich FC launched the Chinese language version of the club's homepage today, as the Bundesliga champions look to increase their exposure in the growing Asian market. "There is no other country with a greater number of Bayern fans than China," club manager Uli Hoeness said as he, Coach Felix Magath and players Michael Ballack, Oliver Kahn and Bastian Schweinsteiger, presented the new site, www.fcbayern.com.cn, to Chinese journalists by video conferencing.

"Our approach is not a short-term one," Mr Hoeness said. "We aim to proceed carefully in this market and do things the right way. We are aware of the adverse publicity that can follow clubs in the Chinese market that are perceived to be too money-focused."

The site will be hosted and developed by Chinese sports internet company SportsCN after a deal brokered by Asia specialist football consultancy FMMInternational.

The club hopes for a million hits a day from the Chinese-language site to add to the audience of its existing German, English and Japanese websites. However it is not meant to be simply a direct mirror translation of the German version of the official website.

"It was important for us to have an offering that was tailored precisely to the needs of our Chinese fan-base and through the expertise and experience offered by SportsCN we have been able to achieve that," said Stefan Mennerich, head of department for media rights and new media at FC Bayern.

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