According to the latest sponsor of Team China, they are here to stay. It’s what we have all been expecting and confirms the power of the Chinese industrial machine. Zhu Xinli (a jovial character if ever there was one), Director of Huiyuan Juice, said at a breakfast meeting on Friday, that his company is in the America’s Cup for the future.
Huiyuan Juice has started to organise a match race series, in China, and has decided to give near unlimited support to this new kid on the block that many people have looked down on. That first big national sponsor, will mean that others will follow and I can only say “Look Out”. These guys are serious and they are not going to be disillusioned by bad results this time around. They have gained a lot of experience, in administration as well as on the water activites.
The Chinese are the most transparent team here in Valencia. They made us welcome, opened the gates and, basically, let us go ahead and enjoy the moment. Taking photos in some places can be downright hazardous, with over zealous heavies pushing you away from anything that you point a camera at, but the Chinese just let us go ahead. If someone walked in front of you, at the crucial moment, a Chinese would stop them and wave you forward to get your material. That is courtesy, that courtesy is worth dollars and they know it.
The base was a hive of activity, with the boat being made ready for a day’s racing and upwards of 100 journalists enjoying coffee and various titbits, along with a number of VIPs, waiting to have an information session, before boarding the China team spectator cat, but it didn’t in any way take anything out of this public relations exercise and I say “give a big hand to them”.
They are here and they are learning, so watch out in the future. Team China are here for the long term and it seems likely that they are about to benefit, from having companies in the fast developing Chinese economy queuing to give them sponsorship money. I have a feeling that, when China team returns for the next Cup, some teams will be wishing they came from countries with as much commitment to winning the America’s Cup.