MADRID/BEIJING: World, European and Spanish champions Real Madrid will open an office in Beijing as part of their expansion into the Chinese market.

According to Chinese sports news site Yutang Sports, the La Liga outfit’s general director José Ángel Sánchez announced the planned expansion at a promotional event in Beijing.

Sánchez described the club’s business strategy for China, which includes connecting through merchandise sales and entertainment events, brand partnership formulation, and promotion of the team’s digital content online.

He said: “Out of the club’s 600m fans worldwide, 44pc are located in Asia.”

Emilio Butragueño, the club’s director of institutional relations, said:  “China means a great deal to us, we’ve played here many times and felt the warmth of the Chinese fans.

“At least 100m people here follow Real Madrid, a very significant figure, so logically we must establish an increasingly fluid and rich relationship with them.”

Newly recrowned world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo said: “The significance of Real Madrid in this sport is gigantic, such an enormous number of fans throughout the world, they are always paying very close attention to us.”