"This agreement allows us to launch Real Madrid's sales portal in China to more than 600 million Chinese consumers," declared club president Florentino Perez at the launch ceremony, during which the entire squad was present (pictured below).
The official Real Madrid store will sell a selection of the club's merchandise including official player jerseys, club apparel for men, women, and children, and club memorabilia from mouse pads to lunch box packs. It features an interactive fitting room function so fans can choose outfits and products from their favourite players. In the future, special-edition or exclusive products will be offered.
Chinese fans identify with the club, with recent statistics from Mailman Group and KungFu Data assessing the club to have the highest online engagement rating among 15 competing clubs across China's football-obssessed digital landscape. Real Madrid is, on average, also the most searched-for club on Tmall.
Other football clubs have been managing their e-commerce presence in China via third-party agencies on alternatives to Tmall. According to Mailman Group's research, clubs have been cautious to develop official online stores in China due to the dominant grey market in the past. However, there has been an increasing demand among fans to buy genuine merchandise and authentic products direct from the clubs themselves.
Other than the online retail addition, Real Madrid is the first club in the world to have opened offices in China, headquartered in the Beijing capital. "It is the beginning of a grand new challenge which should help us continue being the best club in the world in an increasingly difficult and competitive environment," Perez added.