Often Partisan

New Faces

It was announced today that Dr Bruno Wu Zheng has been appointed to the board of Birmingham City Football Club. As many blues fans aren’t that au fait with Chinese millionaires, I thought I’d do a quick write up about him.

Dr Wu is a very rich man. Ranked as the 207th richest man in China by Forbes last year, with a personal wealth of over half a billion dollars, he is sure to bring some prestige to the board. He’s seen by many in China as their answer to Rupert Murdoch; ironic considering Murdoch himself beat off competition from Dr Wu to have the leading satellite TV channel in China.

Dr Wu’s wife isn’t unused to the media spotlight either; Yang Lan is a celebrity in her own right, and is a well recognised talk show host in mainland China. Ms Yang was one of the “image ambassadors” for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and is sure to bring a bit of glamour herself to the St Andrews boardroom.

What does this mean in real terms for Birmingham City? I’m of the belief that this is a good appointment in that it’s going to enhance our prestige and name in China. Carson Yeung has talked often about making Birmingham City a big brand name in China, and this is only going to happen if we’re well recognised and talked about. I’m sure that appointing someone with the economic power of Dr Wu is sure to make the news in China, which can only be a good thing.

I assume Dr Wu will be pushing our name in China, and using his extensive media experience to build new revenue streams for us out there. If we are to push on as a Premier League club we need to expand our revenue base; whilst we’re looking at extending St Andrews, as I stated before it’s not guaranteed that we could fill the ground and therefore opening new lines for money to flow in is what is required if we want to spend more money on players and wages.

I think it also goes some way to proving that Carson does have some clout in China; Chinese business is much more about who you know than what you know, and to be able to appoint someone with this amount of prestige speaks well for Carson’s contacts. I’m hoping that this appointment will also help steady a ship that has been slightly unbalanced by the departures of Sammy Yu and Michael Dunford. Whilst I would like to see more UK-based directors, I think it would make sense if Dr Wu wasn’t based here, as all his power base is in China and I suspect his dealings will continue to be located out there. I think Carson could do with looking at bringing someone else in, maybe at non-executive level who could be based here just to add another figurehead to Michael Wiseman. People look at the board as one of the public faces of the club, and if all those faces are in China it’s not necessarily a good thing.

Only time will tell if Dr Wu is indeed a good appointment, but we seem to be living in interesting times. I hope this isn’t the curse it once was in China.

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One Response to “New Faces”

  • gavin says:

    At least Mr Wu has a George Formby song named after him!

    I don’t see the need for any non Chinese on the board. It is business and noone with any money in England gives a shit about BCFC. Blues best hope is to go down this route unless a billionaire takes over or they twin with a foreign giant; which I think one day will be the next trend. Of course in theory a great academy is another way forward but that ain’t gonna happen is it ?

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