Since then substantial investments have been shaping the football landscape as regional and local governments implement infrastructure, both at amateur and elite level to accelerate the natural course of the sports development.
In an environment that has seen football newly implemented in the curriculum, millions of school children in China will have the need for equipment such as trainers, boots and shin pads, making sports clothing one of the sectors most likely to see the highest growth.
International sports brands such as Nike anticipated this rise and coinciding with Ronaldo's China tour, the company launched their exclusive C罗 collection that symbolizes Chinese culture and tradition. Made with a pattern that includes an ancient boat compass, the captain's "C" and a new Chinese-character version of Ronaldo's famed CR7 mark (C罗) suggests the player's metaphoric ability to breath fire into Chinese football.
The limited edition China only boots, costing 2,499 yuan (369 US dollars), have already sold out on the Nike China online store, reflecting the country's huge football market that has seen average attendance at CSL football matches increase from 10,000 to just fewer than 25,000, a growth of almost 150 percent over the last 10 years.
Then there's Nike’s “Dare To Become” new video campaign that was released on Thursday, which feature youth players in the Nike League in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The agency described the video as a “future where the greatest football player, long after Cristiano Ronaldo retires, is now Chinese.”
According to Ibis World, 434 million are participating in sports on a regular basis in China with the sports market is predicted to reach 193.8 billion US dollars in 2020 and 470.3 billion US dollars in 2025, approximately two thirds of the total will be sports goods.
There can be no question that opportunities for business are on the rise in China’s sports industry, but only time will tell if Ronaldo achieved what he came to China to do and as he tweeted “inspire the future of football”.