Financial crisis hits China’s Asian Games sponsors

March 7th, 2009 - 1:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, March 7 (DPA) Several sponsors have withdrawn from next year’s Asian Games in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, raising fears that the global financial crisis could leave organisers short of funding, state media said.
“No one can avoid the impact of the financial crisis, which has had an affect on the preparations for the upcoming games,” Zhang Guangning, the Guangzhou city mayor, was quoted as saying by the official China Daily.

Zhang said the organisers faced “some difficulties developing stadiums and finding sponsors”, but the newspaper said he gave no details of the withdrawal of sponsors or the potential shortfall in funding.

It quoted Fang Da’er, the games’ marketing director, as saying organisers had collected sponsorship totalling about 2 billion yuan ($292 million), or two-thirds of the total needed.

“Most of the investment for the games will come from market development,” Fang said.

“But what if we can’t collect the funds in case our potential sponsors’ businesses fail in the crisis?” he said.

“It is a matter of great concern to us,” the newspaper quoted Fang as saying.

He said 23 companies had signed sponsorship agreements and organisers were hopeful that 17 others would sign soon.

Four companies that withdrew sponsorship were export-oriented businesses based near Guangzhou in the Pearl River Delta, where scores of large factories closed last year.

“Talks with these companies, which lasted for a year, failed recently since their business in the overseas market dropped greatly,” Fang said.

“We are even thinking of lowering the sponsorship threshold for the games,” he said.

Non-exclusive sponsors must invest at least 10 million yuan in the games, the newspaper said.

Fang said the organisers were still optimistic of winning more sponsorship from foreign firms eager to promote their brands in China.

The 16th Asian Games are scheduled to be held November 12-27, 2010, in Guangzhou, and the nearby cities of Foshan and Shanwei.

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