Hangzhou Greentown Linked With Billionaire Takeover
ENN Weekly, a publication under Xinhua, broke news yesterday that an ownership reshuffle is currently underway at Greentown China, which owns Hangzhou Greentown football club in the Chinese Super League . And billionaire Jack Ma, main founder of the Alibaba Group, is said to be interested in taking over Greentown’s football, education and hospital businesses.
Beijing-based paper Jinghua Times reported that club staff at Hangzhou heard little about the news, but surmised that “aside from state-owned enterprises backed clubs, [Hangzhou Greentown] would become a dominating force in the Super League if Ma were to invest heavily.”
Later in the day, Hangzhou Daily reported that Song Weiping, president of Greentown China, disclosed Jack Ma’s Alibaba is to purchase 49 percent stake in Hangzhou Greentown.
“To have a great company like Alibaba to work with on football development in Zhejiang, we feel very fortunate and honored,” Song was reported as saying. Mr. Song assumed a high-profile role in media during Chinese football’s match-fixing crackdown in 2002.
This is not the first time that Jack Ma linked with sports. In 2011, Ma and Hollywood action film star Jet Li founded Taiji Zen, a “lifestyle” company, in Beijing, promoting Tai Chi to Chinese urban office workers.
Hangzhou Greentown currently sit ninth on the table of the Chinese Super League.