Yingli Solar Reaps Rewards of World Cup Exposure
Cast your mind back a month or so to the World Cup and you may recall catching a glimpse of the name Yingli Solar. The Chinese producer of solar panels took the brave step of paying an undisclosed amount of money to become an official sponsor of the event. Now, it seems, the move is paying off. CRI's Dominic Swire brings us this report.
In February this year Chinese firm Yingli Solar became the first renewable energy firm to sponsor the World Cup and the first Chinese company to seal a global sponsorship deal with event organisers FIFA. Two weeks after the world famous tournament, the company has seen a significant rise in value.
Yingli, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, saw its stock price rise 3.80 dollars between June 7 and July 23. As a result the firm's market capitalization rose 560 million dollars, according to Li Zongwei, Yingli's Chief Financial Officer.
The world cup sponsorship undoubtedly played a part in these promising figures says Dr Rogan Taylor, Director of the Football Industry Group at the University of Liverpool in the UK. But, he says, there are likely to have been other contributing factors as well.
"The very fact that maybe a lot of people didn't know about this particular company and now do and the fact that clearly solar panel production is an area where China's a leading power and clearly there's a global market that's going to be considerably enhanced by the problems with oil that we read about every day that all adds to the feeling that people maybe need to put their money somewhere else."
Yingli never disclosed exactly how much money they paid to become an official sponsor of the World Cup. But the sum is likely to be large considering the size of the event. Although the viewing figures of this year's competition have not been released, FIFA estimates the previous world cup in 2006 attracted a cumulative total of 26.29 billion viewers. China was the biggest contributing country accounting for a cumulative total of just under 4 billion viewers. And FIFA estimates over 700 million people watched the 2006 World Cup final – which equates to around one in every ten people on the planet. Dr Taylor again.
"You'd need Jesus Christ descending from heaven to top these numbers. It lives on planet Zog. It's of a completely different order from the Olympic Games or the European Championships."
On the back of their increased profile, Yingli now hopes to set up a South African branch, which will supply solar panels for twenty African football training centres. It's hoped this will further ensure a bright future for one of China's most exciting companies.
For CRI, I'm Dominic Swire