Sports Exec Li Hong: Golf in China Needs More Domestic Sponsors

June 22, 2018  Editor: Liu Yanmei

Golfing in China has obtained many remarkable achievements in the past 30 years, not least from the effort and skill of its most talented women's players.

For example, Feng Shanshan became the first Grand Slam champion from the Chinese mainland, and won the bronze medal at the Rio Olympic Games.

She took first place in the world ranking since November last year, and kept it for 23 weeks.

The development of the Chinese golf industry in the last decades has undoubtedly benefited from the support of several international brands.

Li Hong, general manager of China Women's Professional Golf Tournament, referred to as the Women's Tour, has said, "Our first golf courses, our own standardized international competitions and our own tournaments were all established under the sponsorship of international brands.”

"It can even be said it was the support of international brands that lead our golf players to today's achievements," Li added.

The players are participating in internationally-sponsored competitions. Even the event organizers are international companies.

"Of course there is nothing wrong with this, but if one day, these brands stop providing all of this? What should Chinese golf do then?" Li asked.

The tremendous achievement golf in China has made today certainly owes much to domestic support. However, if there was no help from international brands, China would host fewer golf events and have fewer good players.

The Women's Tour, exceptionally, was established entirely on China's own strength.

From its beginning, national brands provided the basic guarantee for the development and growth of the Tour. Afterwards a large number of domestic companies actively participated in its development.

"Even so, the Women's Tour will not be able to continue develop to today without support from international brands," Li admitted.

In Li's view, on the one hand, for a long time in the future, international brands will still be the pillar of China's golfing prowess.

On the other hand, the proportion of the domestic brands must be increased, at least to be equal with international sponsors. Only in this way, will the development of China's golf be able to break through the bottleneck and step to a new stage, say experts.

"If China's sports want to continue to be strong in golf, we must rely on the strength of national brands," said Li.

Li said China's golf practitioners will continue to welcome and thank international brands for their investment, but they also hope that Chinese companies will actively participate in the sponsorship of golf and gradually increase their proportion.

Li is aware of the difficulty of national enterprises sponsoring golf. However, she hopes that such companies could see and believe in the future of the sport.

"Feng said when she first started learning golf, nobody thought she would be able to reach the top of the world one day, including herself," said Li.

Li called for more national enterprises to pay attention to the development of golf in China by saying that "There are many possibilities in the future. Among the enterprises that need a ‘Chinese core', Chinese golf also needs one.”

"Golf is also the embodiment of beauty, justice, courage, honor, health, progress and peace. It is time for our national enterprises to support it," Li concluded.

(Source: Xinhua/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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