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Chinese firm first to sponsor World Cup

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Bob Moon: Here are some numbers we didn’t get to a moment ago from today’s World Cup: United States 2, Slovenia 2. For now, that keeps hopes alive for the Americans, but the tie also leaves the team at risk of not advancing in the South African games.

If you want to know the real global score, though, keep your eye on the billboards circling the field.

Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz noticed something new, in between the Adidas and McDonald’s signs: The World Cup’s first Chinese sponsor.

Rob Schmitz: The ad is for Yingli, China’s giant solar panel manufacturer. The company is China’s first to become a global sponsor of the World Cup. Yingli spent at least $100 million so that its name will appear on TV for about eight minutes each game during the month-long event. They’re targeting European countries that offer big subsidies for solar panels.

But they’re also positioning themselves for a growing Chinese market. The global PR firm Ogilvy handled the Yingli account. Ogilvy’s Scott Kronick says it’s all part of trying to promote Chinese companies as a global brand.

Scott Kronick: And you’re going to see not only Chinese companies trying to build a global presence and using sports sponsorships to do so, but you’ll see them kind of using global sports sponsorships as a prestige value to communicate back into China.

And, says Kronick, you’re already starting to see well-known western brands using the world stage to show off their names in Chinese. This spring, English Premier League players wore jerseys emblazoned with the Chinese characters for Danish beer maker Carlsberg. At least someone in the world can afford to buy imported beer these days.

I’m Rob Schmitz for Marketplace.

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