2007.05.20

Tencent Partners With Universiade in World-Class Multi-Sports Competition

On May 20 the 26th Summer Universiade kicked off its Market Development and Economic Summit in Shenzhen. This is the Organizing Committee's first large-scale event since Shenzhen won the right to host the 26th Summer Universiade in 2011. Shenzhen-based Internet company Tencent took this opportunity to announce its exclusive partnership with the event.

According to sources after Tencent's official partnerships with the FIBA and FIFA Women's World Cup Tencent is now associating its Internet and IM services platform with a world-class multi-sport sporting event. Chairman of Tencent Ma Huateng attended the summit together with officials from the Ministry of Education the General Administration of Sport of China Guangdong Province and Shenzhen City along with executives and experts from the Organizing Committee of the 26th Summer Universiade and more than 50 Chinese media representatives.

Tencent builds its local presence

The Universiade is organized by the International University Sports Federation and competitors are collegians who are currently studying or who have graduated less than two years earlier. The Universiade is the largest world-wide multi-sport event after the Olympics. After two years of intense competition and campaign efforts Shenzhen won the right to host the 26th Summer Universiade in 2011.

Since Shenzhen first announced its bid for the event Tencent has paid close attention to the Universiade. Ma Huateng publicly pointed out on several occasions that as a Shenzhen-based company Tencent would make the best use of its Internet and marketing platforms to support the city's bid and preparations to host the 26th Summer Universiade. According to sources Shenzhen municipalities plan to invest over CNY 100 billion to improve city facilities for the event and launch the first comprehensive market development plan in the history of Universiade to help Shenzhen become an internationally recognized innovation city. For Ma the city's hosting of the Universidad is a wonderful brand-building opportunity for Tencent one that will lead to greater exchange and cooperation with overseas companies and generate new business opportunities. According to analysts as a local Shenzhen company with users across China Tencent has the resources and efficiency to meet the Organizing Committee's requirements in all respects.

Leveraging the Universiade for growth

For several years now traditional portals such as Sina.com and Sohu.com have been spending large sums on large-scale sporting events like the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics because of the huge social and commercial value of these events. Although the scope of Universiade is smaller at least 100 million college students are expected to follow and take part in the 2011 Universiade. This Summer Universiade will also be the largest Universiade in the event's history. While Tencent has always avoided competing for partnerships with large events it believes the Universiade fits with the company's long-term objectives.

The company recently announced its new brand strategy of "high response and great impact". With this new approach management hopes to change the perception certain people have of Tencent as a company that mostly targets younger users with entertainment content and pave the way for e-business and online advertising development. This year has already seen QQ.com become the exclusive partner of the FIFA Women's World Cup and Boao Forum for Asia. Tencent's participation in the Universiade marks another step in building a more mature and multifaceted brand image for the company.

According to Tencent a high proportion of its users will follow and take part in the Universiade. Tencent can leverage its interactive media platform QQ.com its innovative real-time reporting system known as Tips and its streaming media shared platform QQ Live to share the Universiade spirit and ideals with 250 million Tencent users. In addition Tencent intends to help enterprises to market their sports brands through the company's experience-based online marketing platform. The Organizing Committee of the Universiade remarked that Tencent's capabilities offered an excellent fit with the city's Universiade bid slogan "Shenzhen embraces the world"

Internet industry insiders pointed out that the key to Tencent's participation in the Universiade lies in the company's ability to leverage its powerful platforms. If Tencent can link and integrate its Internet platforms with the Universiade in a comprehensive and seamless way Tencent's brands and Internet advertisements will no doubt benefit from high growth opportunities.