Euro 2024: China’s BYD managed to drive Germany’s VW out of its own territory

If BYD’s approach may at first glance confuse many people, it is not in itself a first: during the 2016 Euro held in France, it was the Korean manufacturer Hyundai/Kia (it’s the same group) that was the official partner of the competition, not Citroën, Peugeot or even Renault.

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BYD’s arrival in the UEFA Euro 2024 circuit isn’t a complete surprise in itself, at least when it comes to the company’s geographic origins: the Chinese love European football, and that’s nothing new.

Already three years ago (Euro 2020 was held in 2021 due to the health crisis), 4 Chinese companies out of a total of 12 were among the main sponsors, namely Alipay, Hisense, TikTok and Vivo. Hisense is already an old acquaintance, as the company entered the industry back in 2016.

This time there are five of them: AliExpress, AliPay, BYD, Hisense and Vivo, thus even surpassing the number of German partners (Adidas, Lidl and Strauss).

This shows the control of Chinese and more generally non-European sponsors with Booking, Coca-Cola and Visit Qatar among other international partners. This under-representation of companies from the old continent is also present in another UEFA competition, the Champions League, as Heineken, Just Eat Takeaway and Turkish Airlines are the only Europeans, out of a total of 8 official sponsors this time, including the essential MasterCard (partner for 30 years) or even Oppo , a Chinese smartphone brand.

Why such enthusiasm and entry of BYD on the competitive bench? Lionel French Keogh, CEO of Hyundai France, summed up the interest in the partnership well: “Football remains the number 1 sport in the world, it’s a fantastic tool for raising awareness.“Therefore, the association of the brand with Euro 2016 will significantly increase its visibility.”And when you’re buying a car, the first step is to buy a car you know.”

Increase your notoriety

BYD has strong ambitions especially in Europe, where the Chinese electric car manufacturer arrived barely two years ago. The announcement of this partnership in January followed the formalization of the construction of a factory in Europe for its cars. Good game !

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Sponsoring such a competition therefore makes sense as it should allow Build Your Dreams (BYD) to significantly increase its notoriety, which basically boils down to who, BYD or Tesla, makes the most electric cars.

This partnership will be “allow us to present our latest advances in electric vehicles to a wide audience“, emphasized Michael Shu, CEO of BYD Europe.

Of course, BYD still dwarfs the European market in general, and the Belgian market in particular, with a logically modest market share… for now.

The manufacturer will open a factory in Europe where 150,000 electric cars will initially be produced.

A sustainable euro

However, the company’s ambition is to shake things up in its massage in the electric segment: BYD plans to build 150,000 cars at its Hungarian factory… initially. The partnership will allow it to present its cars to a wide audience, either near the stadiums or in its European and Belgian showrooms, by involving former Red Devil Mbo Mpenza here. Enough to support his message”support a greener future.“Apart from the size of the cheque, that’s what attracted UEFA.”This partnership fits perfectly with UEFA’s vision to promote a greener and more sustainable European Championship“, explained Guy-Laurent Epstein, Marketing Director of UEFA.

The fact remains that appearing in a European football competition also allows you to reach a wider audience, even if European viewers are the most numerous (8 out of 10 Europeans watched a match for at least more than a minute). During the last Euro, UEFA had a cumulative audience of 5.2 billion viewers, including 352 million in China (+43% compared to 2016), 107 million in India (+229%) and 87 million in the United States (+32%). .

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