SHANGHAI: With two other Chinese companies likely to follow its example, the Wanda Group has indicated it aims to use its new World Cup sponsorship to help persuade FIFA to bring home the finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man, said: “If China lodges a bid to host the World Cup, Wanda will definitely back it.”

He added: “Probably more Chinese companies will join the FIFA sponsors club and, I think, it will boost China’s chances of winning the host rights if the Chinese government decides to bid for it.”

Last week Wanda signed a partnership with the world football federation which runs through the 2030 World Cup. The contract will grant Wanda the highest level of sponsorship rights, which includes the next four FIFA World Cups.

Wang has built his firm into a property giant but has been diversifying into sports and entertainment in recent years. In 2015, Wanda bought Swiss firm Infront Sports & Media, World Triathlon Corp. and acquired a 20 percent stake in Spanish football team Atletico Madrid.