Manchester City FC (MCFC) has become the first international football organisation to open two offices in mainland China.
Located in Shenzhen, the second of the club's regional hubs will continue MCFC's work in developing grassroots football in China.
It joins an existing hub in Shanghai in an expanding portfolio of international assets controlled by Abu Dhabi-based City Football Group (CFG) – the owner of MCFC.
The club has been working with the Chinese Ministry of Education on the department's School Football Project since the programme was first launched in September 2016.
In the past two years, more than 40 coaches from UK have worked in primary and secondary schools across 15 Chinese cities/provinces, and directly delivered football coaching sessions to more than 400,000 Chinese kids and 3,000 school teachers.
The opening of the new hub was accompanied with CFG signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Shenzhen Sports, Culture and Tourism Bureau to work together to deliver grassroots football programmes in Shenzhen.
MCFC is among the most popular clubs in China, and now has 12 official supporters’ clubs in China, with a regular broadcast audience of 45m for City games.
The club has also entered into several commercial partnerships in China – including with Shenzhen-based Robotics Partner, UBTECH and Insurance giant, Ping An.
Since 2017, the CFG has supported two Unified Football projects in Beijing and Guangzhou and used football to create a "safe and inclusive environment for children or all abilities".
The projects have worked directly with more than 1,800 children, of which 80 per cent are from special schools in the two cities.
The initiatives are part of plans by CFG – which is part of the Abu Dhabi United Group – to expand its sports businesses in major markets around the world. The group also owns the New York City MLS franchise.
“The opening of our second City Football Group office in Shenzhen complements our existing team in Shanghai," Damian Willoughby, SVP of Partnerships at City Football Group.
"Shenzhen is an important and growing city at the heart of the Greater Bay Area.
"Our presence in the region will play an important role in our continued growth as we engage our fans, expand our grassroots football programmes and work with our expanding portfolio of commercial partners.”