Manchester United announced on Tuesday they are opening a series of “entertainment and experience centres” in China as they seek to capitalise on a huge fanbase in the world’s most populous country.
The first centres, developed in partnership with Chinese property developer Harves, are scheduled to open in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang by the end of 2020.
Arsenal last year opened a club-themed sports bar and restaurant in Shanghai and French side Paris Saint-Germain also have a hub in the same city, equipped with indoor football pitches and a bar.
Each venue at the Manchester United centres will feature “interactive and immersive experiences” and will include restaurants and a club store, the Premier League club said in a statement.
“We first visited China in 1975 and we’re proud to have seen our fan base in the region grow and develop their passion for United over the years,” said Manchester United’s group managing director Richard Arnold.
“This new concept will allow them to get closer to the club they love.”
China has become an important pre-season destination for European clubs, competing with the United States to draw top teams.
United said last year they had more than 107 million followers in China, describing the country as one of the club’s most important markets.
The 20-time English champions built an enormous global fanbase during the 1990s and 2000s, a period in which they dominated the Premier League.
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