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Chinese firms to launch first sports-focused PPP fund

The $1.5bn vehicle will target sports facilities that will be developed for the 2022 Asian Games and Beijing Winter Olympics.

Everbright Securities has teamed up with Zhejiang Kunlun Holdings Group to set up a 10 billion yuan ($1.48 billion; €1.33 billion) fund dedicated to investing in sports facilities and related PPP projects. 

The vehicle, seeded by the two companies' internal funds, will look to plug the funding gap to build new stadiums in China. 

The fund's investment team has started looking at projects that include infrastructure facilities for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the Asian Games in Hangzhou, as well as a sports park in suburbian Beijing, Everbright said.  

China National Sports Group, a company specialised in the construction, management and operation of sport facilities, will assist the fund with asset management. Owned by the Chinese Olympic Committee, the group was among the consultancies that advised on stadiums built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The sports PPP fund, the first of its kind in China, targets opportunities emerging from the state's willingness to plug private capital into the development of domestic sports facilities. Beijing expects to see the country's sports market – including stadiums, equipment and related services – grow to more than $5 trillion yuan by 2025. 

Everbright, through its sports fund management subsidiary, has invested in various fitness-related assets like sports games, healthcare management, fitness centres, active gears companies and stadium projects. Earlier this May, the company teamed up with Baofeng, a Chinese internet entertainment and technology company, to buy a 65 percent stake in Italian-owned sports media company MP&Silva for $715 million. 

The Shanghai-based firm is also active on the PPP front, having set up a 100 billion yuan PPP urban development fund in partnership with China Railway Group and the Hangzhou government early this year. It then launched a 15 billion yuan fund alongside the Yan'an government last month. 

For its part, Zhejiang Kunlun's recently established sports investment arm has also teamed up with government-run Hangzhou Sports Development Group to set up a 5 billion yuan sports industry fund. The vehicle is expected to invest in sports clubs and support the city as it prepares to host the Asian Games in 2022.