Carson Yeung

HK interests plan China flavour at Birmingham

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 July, 2007, 12:00am


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Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung Ka-sing (pictured) said yesterday he hopes to recruit up to three Chinese players to play for newly promoted Premier League side Birmingham City, in which his company has a major stake.

'We are looking for one Hong Kong player and one or two mainland players,' said Yeung, executive director and chairman of the Grandtop International Holdings.

The company also plans to spend up to HK$800 million in football-related businesses in Hong Kong, on the mainland and Asia.

Up to HK$200 million would be used for its business ventures under the brand of Birmingham City, including a football school, a cafe and restaurant chain, and souvenir shop in Hong Kong and on the mainland, said executive director Vico Hui Ho-luek.

'Birmingham City's brand is without doubt a selling point,' Yeung said. 'There are a lot of opportunities for the club's brand in Hong Kong and on the mainland, where the English Premier League is very popular.'

Yeung said he hopes Birmingham City to finish in the top 10 this season. The club had signed eight new players and are expected to further expand the squad before the league starts in August.

Grandtop International Holdings spent HK$238.7 million this month for its 29.91 per cent stake in Birmingham City. The company also planned to increase its stake and acquire other clubs, said Yeung.

Television broadcast right fees and ticket sales were about HK$480 million and HK$160 million respectively last season. Both figures are expected to increase this season thanks to their Premier League status, Hui said.