Manchester City's owners City Football Group announced the
purchase of Chinese third-tier club Sichuan Jiuniu on Wednesday
-- in partnership with a Chinese investment fund and a company
that makes robots.
The rare swoop for a Chinese team, after Sheffield United bought
Chengdu Five Bulls in 2006, expands CFG's portfolio to seven
clubs and follows the rapid growth of Chinese football in recent
Few details were revealed about the deal, which partners Abu
Dhabi-owned CFG with China Sports Capital and UBTECH, a Chinese
artificial intelligence and humanoid robotic company.
Investment fund China Sports Capital was jointly established by
Sequoia China and Chinese state-linked CMC, which bought a 13
percent stake in CFG in 2015.
CFG also owns New York City and Melbourne City football clubs,
but chief executive Ferran Soriano said it had been a long-held
"dream" to become part of China's growing football scene.
"We want to be part of the initiative... even just a small part,"
he told a press conference in Chengdu.
"We will be patient. We are here for the long-term."
CFG is also the owner of Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay, and has
stakes in La Liga outfit Girona FC and Yokohama F. Marinos in
Sichuan Jiuniu, its latest addition, are based in the western
Chinese metropolis of Chengdu, and play their home games at the
Chengdu Longquanyi Football Stadium.
Chinese football was buoyed by an influx of funds and foreign
stars after President Xi Jinping, who visited Manchester City in
2015, outlined ambitions to turn the world's most populous nation
into a global soccer power.