On January 15th, Manchester United launched their official account on Tencent Weibo - one of the leading social networks in China - with KAWO. Just 10 mins after launch the account had 5,000 followers, rising to 20K only a few hours later.
China is a key demographic for football clubs, as evidenced by the growing amount of clubs launching on Chinese social media and creating Chinese versions of their website. MU is no stranger to China: this account is their fourth initiative into the Chinese digital sphere, having previously launched an official China website, Sina Weibo account and RenRen page.
Since launching a Sina account in July, the club has gathered a fan base of over 1.92 million followers. With this in mind, many fans expect similar levels of growth which has been backed up by the new account’s early popularity.
The launch was supported with a major incentive campaign with the club giving away a jersey signed by talisman Wayne Rooney. This trend of running regular online competitions has seen a sharp increase among football clubs over the past year and is set to continue, with prizes getting bigger and better. Other trends include getting on Wechat and the use of microvideo platforms, such as Vine.
With a major effort to build their presence in China this past year, including 2 new commercial partners (Wahaha and China Construction Bank), Trophy Tour of several Chinese cities- 2014 is already off to a running start.