Barca chooses China, Japan for next pre-season summer tour

Indo Asian News Service

Barcelona, Oct 17 (IANS) Barcelona is set to hold their next pre-season summer tour in China and Japan, which are considered to be strategic markets for the Catalan football club, a Barça spokesman has said.

Josep Vives said the upcoming Asian tour will be part of the club's "brand globalisation and expansion strategy," reports Efe.

"The Board of Directors agreed that the next pre-season tour would be to Asia after two consecutive years of trips to the United States, to the East Coast in the summer of 2017 and to the West Coast last July," Vives said, according to the Barcelona's official website.

The upcoming tour will be the squad's first visit to Asia since December 2016, when the Spanish club played a friendly in Qatar, while Barcelona competed in Japan in 2015 in the FIFA Club World Cup and undertook a tour in 2013 in Thailand and Malaysia.

"This tour reaffirms the club's commitment to the Asian market, where it has 11 regional partners, three global partners (Konami, Oppo and Milo) and its main partner, Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce company headed by Hiroshi Mikitani," Vives said.

He explained that Barça has a huge number of fans in Asia, with the club opening a commercial office in Hong Kong in 2013.

Currently, Barcelona has projects in the region such as Mission Hills, on the Chinese island of Haikou, and Barça Academy Pro.

The club also has established 15 football schools in the Asia-Pacific region.

Vives did not disclose whether the tour will include a game against Japan's Vissel Kobe, for which former Barcelona team captain Andres Iniesta plays.

--IANS

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