To cap off the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Argentina defeated reigning champion France 7-5 (4-2 on penalties) to win the coveted title for the first time in 36 years. Nearly as excited as Argentinian fans were many Chinese sponsors, including NetEase Media, a subsidiary of Chinese internet company NetEase, and Cotti Coffee, a new beverage brand established by Charles Lu, the former chairman of Luckin Coffee.
There is a famous saying in football – “It is not a football that rolls on the lawns of the World Cup, but gold.” According to statistics from GlobalData, a UK-based data analytics company, the sponsorship amount of Chinese enterprises in this World Cup reached $1.4 billion, surpassing that of US giants such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Budweiser, and the total sponsorship amount of Chinese companies ranked first in the world.
In this World Cup, Argentina has become the favorite among Chinese firms. According to statistics from China’s Southern Metropolis Daily, Yili Group, Panpan Food, Cotti Coffee, Macro Appliance, GAC Mitsubishi Motors, NetEase Media, Wanda Sports and Lingxi Games are all sponsors or partners of the Argentinian team.
Chinese dairy companies Yili Group and Mengniu Dairy became “the final winners of this World Cup,” as Yili Group was the sponsor of Argentina in China. In the finals, the two top stars Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé were sponsored by Mengniu Dairy.
The second-largest target for Chinese sponsors were Portugal and Spain, with three each. Germany and Belgium had two Chinese sponsors each, while the reigning champion France had only one Chinese sponsor.
In addition, leading Chinese real estate company Wanda Group is listed as one of the seven official partners of FIFA, alongside Coca-Cola, Adidas, Hyundai/Kia, Qatar Airways, QatarEnergy and VISA. Chinese companies vivo, Mengniu Diary and Hisense were also sponsors of the FIFA World Cup.
In addition to Chinese brands sponsoring the 2022 World Cup, China Railway Construction Corporation, Yutong Bus and Xiamen King Long Motor have also made great contributions to the 2022 World Cup, although they did not directly sponsor it. Even Ningxia University, the Chinese football referee team, giant pandas and commodity hub Yiwu contributed to the events.
Some Chinese web users even joked that “apart from its football team, everything from China has made its way to this World Cup.”