‘A great honour!' VIP visitors from China
FC Bayern welcomed important visitors on Thursday evening when a delegation from the Chinese Entrepreneur Club (CEC) -- an exclusive organisation for China's elite private companies -- met with representatives of Germany's biggest football club at the Allianz Arena.
"It is a great honour for us to welcome you here," said FC Bayern director of internationalisation and strategy Jörg Wacker in his opening speech. The Asian business leaders, whose companies post impressive combined annual turnover of more than €300 billion, had earlier gathered at the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt. "We're very excited about our visit," said CEC director Frank Wu. "We've seen a few things and have a real sense of the culture that infuses this magnificent club."
"CEC members are outstanding personalities from outstanding organisations responsible for more than three percent of China's gross national product," replied Wacker. "We as a football club are by contrast a small-to-medium sized business, although it's important to recognise that turnover and profit are a secondary concern for us. What happens on the pitch is more important. Our solitary target every year is sporting success."
Indelible memories of China
FC Bayern's summer tour of China was a remarkable success, Wacker emphasised. "I'll never forget our match at the Bird's Nest in Beijing against FC Valencia," the Bayern board member said, "the stadium was totally red and the fans sang our club songs. It sent shivers down my spine!" The imminent opening of a club office in Shanghai, Wacker announced, was not solely for marketing purposes: "It's not only about making money. We want strong contact with our Chinese fans. We owe them that."
Wu is hoping Chinese football will benefit from Bayern's activities. "My company has a club of its own. We want to raise the standard of Chinese football and FC Bayern is a role model for us," said the CEC director, who was as thrilled as all of the group when each member of the delegation was presented with a Bayern replica shirt in the home dressing room.
"If we can support you in developing the game, we're very open to it," commented Wacker. Firm measures to achieve that goal and ideas for making FC Bayern even more popular in China were topics discussed over a dinner bringing the evening to a satisfactory and relaxed end.