Jun 01, 2017 06:29 PM

Smartphone Maker Vivo Nets FIFA Soccer Tie-Up

(Beijing) — Smartphone maker Vivo has signed a six-year sponsorship deal with world soccer body FIFA through 2023, extending a string of similar global tie-ups by Chinese consumer brands looking to expand abroad.

Under its deal with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Vivo will become the official smartphone sponsor of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, making it China’s first smartphone brand to win such distinction. No terms of the deal were disclosed, but a knowledgeable source told Caixin that Vivo will pay about $100 million for the rights.

Chinese smartphone makers have emerged as some of the world’s fastest growing brands, feeding off their home market with 1.3 billion mobile subscribers. But as their skills grow and competition at home remains cut-throat, many are now aggressively expanding abroad, mostly to developing markets like India and Russia. The FIFA tie-up could help Vivo expand to other developing markets, as well as more developed Western markets where soccer is popular.

Under the deal, Vivo’s logo will appear in every match on advertising boards, as well as on tickets and other promotional materials.

“As a global sponsor of the FIFA World Cup, Vivo hopes to strongly associate itself with the football spirit and show consumers all over the world Vivo’s creative, joyful and international brand image,” said Ni Xudong, executive vice president of Vivo Technology Communication Co. Ltd.

Vivo previously signed a title sponsorship deal with Indian Premier League cricket, and with the National Basketball Association to become the league’s official smartphone sponsor in China. The company’s crosstown rival, Oppo Electronics Corp., earlier this year announced its own 10.8 billion rupee ($167 million) five-year sponsorship deal with India’s national cricket team.

India has become one of the most hotly contested markets for Chinese smartphone makers as they look to replicate their success at home. Chinese brands took more than half of the Indian smartphone market for the first time in this year’s first quarter, more than doubling their share from a year earlier. Among the market’s top five players, four came from China, including Xiaomi Inc., Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo Group Ltd.

Other big Chinese brands have also signed big sports sponsorship deals to promote themselves both at home and abroad. In January, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. announced a 12-year partnership with the Olympics to provide cloud and e-commerce services over the next six Olympic Games. And last year, real estate and entertainment giant Wanda Group signed its own sponsorship deal with FIFA, covering the next four World Cups through 2030.

Contact reporter Yang Ge (


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