Chinese market could help Birmingham City improve financial muscle
Birmingham City are confident that their tour of Hong Kong and China will have done them a power of good for their future prosperity.
Carson Yeung’s master plan for the club revolves around spreading the word and interest in the People’s Republic, and capitalising commercially on that.
The Blues owner and the club’s other Chinese-based officials are under no illusions that it won’t happen overnight. But Blues have a foothold in the Chinese market, and ultimately much will depend on their Premier League performances.
One British footballer with local connections who knows the scene in China came up against Alex McLeish’s side on their pre-season trip and said it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Blues could crack the Far East market and generate financial muscle from it.
Maurice Ross, the former Rangers, Wolves and Scotland international defender, plays for Beijing Guoan, the capital’s top team.
Ross faced Blues’ new signing Nikola Zigic in the visitors’ 1-0 win and said he was impressed with the work McLeish had done.
As for off-the-field matters, Ross commented that it was up to Yeung and his associates to make things work.
“In terms of how aware people are of Birmingham, to be honest, because there’s not many who speak English, so you really don’t know what’s going on.
“You just kind of get swept along wherever you go with the club really. Unless you’re in a Starbucks or something, there’s not many people who speak English.
“Birmingham probably are more well known now, but personally I’m not made that aware of it because I can’t understand the old television and read the newspapers and stuff.
“I’m sure the interest is very high in Hong Kong. That’s where his [Yeung’s] business is from. And there was a big crowd at our game, so it’s not as if the Chinese are oblivious to it.
“But this is the whole point of these exercises, a pre-season tour here. If they were known about in China, they wouldn’t need to come.