Soon after Volvo opened its business links with China twenty years ago, it became the first western brand to engage with golf in China via its initial sponsorship of the Volvo China Open in 1995. Since then, the relationship has gone from strength to strength and this month sees the 18th staging of the event from Thursday April 19th to Sunday April 22nd in Tianjin. Once again, the golfing spotlight of the world will focus on Volvo and China, generating media exposure worth millions of dollars.
Year on year, the Volvo China Open has grown steadily in importance and stature to the stage where it is now the most important tournament in the country. This national open championship attracts world-class golfers from all corners of the globe and therefore creates a platform for business from many perspectives.
In most cases the sponsorship of golf and the resulting business benefits are shared between many brands and companies. By having the foresight to engage with golf in China back in 1995 and become so strongly linked with the Volvo China Open and the Volvo China Junior Championship, Volvo is in a unique and extremely strong position.
The event offers an excellent way for Volvo to engage with its customers, prospects and partners. There are two golfing events on the day before and after the championship - the Pro-Am where guests of Volvo play the course with one of the professional stars of the tournament and the 'After The Open', an informal game over a golf course in perfect condition.
Approximately 200-300 VIP guests and fleet customers are invited to the tournament, whereof approximately 30 of the guests will play the Pro-Am, which will take place on the 18th of April. For the 'After the Open' approximately 30 VIP guests are invited to play at the golf course where the pros played the day before. The guests include media, government representatives and VIPs. The Pro-Am tournament is a chance of a lifetime for an amateur golfer to play 18 holes with a world-class golfing professional in a competitive but friendly team competition.
Volvo has guests from China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Sweden and the Middle East attending the event. Apart from all the other activities on offer, they will be watching the strongest field ever in the history of the Volvo China Open, including players such as Peter Hanson, Ian Poulter and Colin Montgomerie.
The media exposure is intense with about 1,700 hours of broadcasting adding up to a media value in the region of USD 14 million, in addition to countless articles in national newspapers, on the internet and elsewhere.
According to Stefan Jacoby, CEO and President of Volvo Car Corporation, "The Volvo China Open is a perfect opportunity for us to get closer to our customers and partners as well as positioning our brand in this rapidly expanding and hugely important market. China already boasts the world's second largest economy, and golf is a perfect platform for us to create and strengthen our relationships here."
The Open Club VIP hospitality will be situated in a prime location close to the 18th green. In and in close connection to the Public Village there will be a range of activities on offer including Volvo test drives of the safety and pedestrian detection systems. One XC60 T6 R-design and one S60 T6 AWD will be available for these test drives. There will also be possibility for on-road test drives of S80L Prestige cars. Around and in the public village there will be various displays, shopping opportunities, the chance to try golf for the first time or get a lesson to improve your game, and even a unique putting challenge using Volvo cars and trucks as part of the course!
The tournament will also invite employees from different parts of the company to take part and to experience the tournament and to be brand ambassadors.
On the golf course a number of Volvo cars will be exposed to visitors and to TV and media. Volvo China will combine the golf tournament with the launch of the S80L MY 12. A Volvo Brand Center will be built up where new cars will be displayed to guests and visitors. Cars on display will be XC60 T6 AWD, S60 T6 Prestige, V60 T6 R-design and S80 L MY12.5.
Also, there will be 50 courtesy cars to transport the pros and the invited VIP guests.
The 18th staging of the Volvo China Open takes place from April 19th-22nd, at Binhai Lake Course near Tianjin. Volvo was the first western brand to engage with golf in China in 1995 and this will be Volvo's 76th tournament on the European Tour. The prize fund is RMB 20 million, (approximately $3 million). Volvo is organising the event together with China Golf Association and it is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and OneAsia.
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