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Barça will be travelling to Asia next summer to get closer to its fans and partners in the region. The plan is to visit China and Japan on the preseason tour as part of the brand globalisation and expansion strategy included in the Strategic Plan for the current presidential mandate.

The Board of Directors agreed that the next preseason tour would be to Asia after two consecutive years of trips to the United States, to the East Coast in the summer of 2017 and to the West Coast last July. This will the first visit to Asia since playing a friendly in Qatar in December 2016, following on from the Clubs World Cup in Japan in 2015 and visits to Thailand and Malaysia in the summer of 2013.

Huge Asian following

Barça has a higher concentration of fans in Asia than anywhere else in the world, and the club took a huge step forward in its search for partners and fans in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) market when it opened a permanent office in Hong Kong in September 2013. China and Japan are two of the world’s ten most strategically important countries and Barça is the most followed and beloved club among football fans in the region.

This tour reaffirms the club’s commitment to the Asian market, where it has 11 regional partners, three global partners (Konami, Oppo and Milo) and its main partner, Rakuten, a global leader in internet services across e-commerce, finance, and digital content, headquartered in Japan. The APAC region concentrates 60% of the world’s population and a large number of the emerging economies that are seeking internationalisation.

Football is also a fast-growing sport in countries like China and Japan, where the club is not only looking to do business, but also to seek new fans and build their loyalty. Team tours and the presence of players are viewed as key strategies for getting closer to local fans in a more direct way by offering more personalised experiences, beyond the connections that the club has already built through social networks and offering the website in local languages (Japanese, Chinese and Indonesian).

Projects in the Far East

Barça is currently engaged in such projects as Mission Hills, in the Chinese city of Haikou on the island of Hainan, which includes a Barça Experience featuring an interactive museum, store and sports bar, as well as a Barça Academy Pro. In recent years, the club has been developing the Barça Academy project in Asia, and now has a total of fifteen schools around the Asia-Pacific region.

Growth in these continents has been exceptional, especially over the last two seasons, with new schools set up in countries of strategic importance to the club, including the first two in Oceania. FC Barcelona currently has four projects in Japan (Shinagawa Oimachi, Fukuoka, Katsushika and Nara); three in India (New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore); another three in China (Barça Academy Pro Haikou and schools in Chengdu and Qingdao; two in Australia (Sydney and Brisbane), and one each in Singapore, Kuwait and Dubai.

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