Cold beer – and some good advice – helps China celebrate World Cup
Wednesday 16 June 2010
Having no home side to cheer on has in no way dampened China's passion for football's World Cup with bars and clubs all over the country packed for every game. And the country's beer makers have wasted no time in pouncing on this golden opportunity to sell their wares.
FIFA reported on Monday that a staggering 24 million Chinese tuned in to watch South Korea defeat Greece 2-0 on Saturday - the second largest viewing audience of the World Cup's opening weekend, behind the 28 million Germans who celebrated Sunday's 4-0 hammering of Australia.
And a great majority of them enjoyed the action at their "local'.' China boasts the largest beer market in the world - consumption last year peaked at some 42.19 billion liters, a rise of 3.3 percent from 2008 - and the nation's major breweries have been working overtime to ensure that football fans have a cold glass nearby.
China Resources Breweries (CRB) announced last week that it was spending 80 million yuan (9.5 million euros) on advertising on the state-run CCTV, which is broadcasting the World Cup.
Other mainland Chinese breweries have in recent times been forging partnerships with international brands to boost their profiles. CRB is now working with South Africa's SABMiller to produce the Snow brand of beer while Denmark's Carlsberg and Asahi from Japan are now "strategic partners'' with China's national brand, Tsing-tao.
Many bar owners in mainland China are predicting a rise in beers sales of up to 50 percent during the World Cup and maybe that's why down in Hong Kong the Department of Health has issued a guide to how people should conduct themselves over the next month.
Over 500-words, spread through 16 points, the guide suggests - among other things - that football fans "avoid tobacco or excess alcohol'' and instead toast their team's victory with a glass of water.
Much to the amusement of the local press, too, the guide suggests that if football lovers do fancy a cigarette, they should instead "wash [their] face'' or do some deep stretches until the urge subsides.
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