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Beijing Olympics

‘King of Chinese beer’ joins in on Olympic fever

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Hazel Heyer  Apr 09, 2008

(eTN) – China is serious about hosting the upcoming Summer Olympics. The latest Chinese company to join the Olympic bandwagon is China’s oldest and most popular beer, Tsingtao. The company has signed on as an official sponsor of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Beijing Olympics 2008 provides a rare chance for Chinese brands to gain global appreciation and build the image of ‘made in China’,” said Jin Zhi Guo, chairman and president of Tsingtao Brewery.

The Chinese beer company has launched its Olympics branding strategy the moment it became a sponsor of the Games, including a pledge to supply high-quality products for the Games, publicizing its home city and namesake Qingdao and preparing to pass along the Olympics spirit after the world’s biggest sporting event is over, Jin said.

“We will incorporate the spirit of the Olympics into our marketing strategy for Tsingtao beer,” he noted. “We are confident that we can provide better service to the Olympics than any other international brand.”

Tsingtao Brewery does not only cash in on its history of about a hundred years. It has also promised to take advantage of China’s drinking culture and heritage through tourism promotion. Jin said over 300,000 people coming from abroad and from within China tour the brewery. “I assume the brand will reconfirm our support for tourism,” he said.

To increase market appeal, Tsingtao has entered into a joint project with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to promote the brewery while tapping local tourism. Return on investment will be spread over local tourism sites.

Xu Jing, UNWTO regional representative for Asia and the Pacific, said that compared to previous efforts by the governments of Korea, Italy and the Netherlands, Tsingtao is the biggest company in Asia to have been the first enterprise in the private sector to support the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.

Building Guijou, an impoverished province of China, supports the UN-Sustainable Tourism Eliminating Poverty (UN-STEP) project for poverty alleviation, through tourism development. “We’ll use the sponsorship of Tsingtao to build the accommodation sectors in 12 villages consisting of rural houses - each having a room to receive tourists,” Jing said. “Funds will be used for micro-credit financing using the brewery money in this informal accommodation set-up.”

Tsingtao Brewery has reached out to the poorer regions in China, with hotels and tourism offices benefiting the local economy and village people. Jin said, “We support local culture so that the world will know about these small villages. We would also expand operations there after the success of the Olympics. We also would like the world to know that Tsingtao is one responsible company. Hopefully our brand gets recognized worldwide with more consumers supporting the brand.”

The second component of the deal structure with UNWTO is market support. “If they renovate the rooms but tourists don’t come from abroad, the whole project will have failed,” said Xu Jing. “We want this partnership with the brewery to link all poor villages to the international market, and expand networking with tour operators who can promote our cultural tourism products to the niche markets.”

Lastly, the “beer aid” will be spent on capacity-building, as well as on training local villagers to host tourists. Jin’s grant: in the order of around one million euros.

If successful, the brewery will carry on doing the same in not only one province of China, but also throughout other provinces under the big umbrella of the Chinese central government and the China National Tourism Administration, according to Mu Yu Wei, general administration secretary of the China National Tourism Administration. Further down the line, the venture may expand to other countries of Asia.

Tsingtao’s chair said the project will enable to give the poor more spending money, including money for travel outside China.

Additionally, “Our major focus is to demonstrate our social responsibility and the direction of our business. With cooperation with the UNWTO, we would like to show our concern for the local people while others buy our beer worldwide,” closed Jin.

‘King of Chinese beer’ joins in on Olympic fever

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