Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images
Manchester United have announced a major partnership with Chinese internet firm Alibaba Group.
Alibaba are one of the biggest internet companies on the planet and run the world’s biggest online shopping website, according to Mike Keegan for MailOnline.
The partnership will include a Red Devils channel on Alibaba’s video-streaming platform Youko, opening the club up to the lucrative Chinese market.
Per the club’s official website, United managing director Richard Arnold said the Premier League giants are looking forward to their major collaboration in the Far East:
“We are proud of our passionate and loyal following around the world and our Chinese fans are a huge part of that.
“We are always looking for new ways to engage with fans there and this partnership with Alibaba enables them to connect with the club directly through one of China’s most popular video streaming platforms.
“We look forward to working with Alibaba to further grow our fan base in China and building on other areas of the partnership in the near future.“
The deal is a major coup for the club after a disappointing spell for the team on the pitch. United have slid down the Premier League over a six-year spell, and have sacked three managers since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
However, the United brand remains strong across the world, and the historical appeal of the club has kept supporters invested.
Alibaba president Michael Evans added: “We share the same goal, which is to provide fans with one-of-a-kind online content consumption and shopping that leverages the latest technology. With this cooperation, we are leveraging Alibaba’s ecosystem to bring a unique Manchester United experience closer to fans and consumers in China.”
The deal will create a United flagship store on Alibaba’s Tmall platform, selling official merchandise to the region, with the United channel showing academy and women’s matches. Selected first-team games will also be streamed on-demand for users.