For those estimated three billion people watching or planning to watch this year’s FIFA World Cup™, you may notice something slightly unusual: Chinese characters on the high-profile perimeter boards surrounding the football pitches.
So what’s the deal? Why now? And what do the advertisements say?
First, it’s important to remember than Mandarin Chinese is the most commonly spoken language in the world, familiar to roughly 15% to 20% of the world’s population. It’s also important to note that football is an incredibly popular sport in China and for Chinese people around the world. Millions of people in China will stay up late or wake up early to watch this year’s FIFA World Cup. Although Yingli was the first company to showcase Chinese characters in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, other companies also started to incorporate more Chinese-language content in their in-stadium and global marketing activations as well. Given the sheer volume of Chinese football fans, as well as the growing importance of the China market for many industries, we expect this trend to continue.
There is an additional, important reason why we decided to feature Chinese-language content: China is the world’s largest market for solar panels. More than 12 gigawatts of solar panels were installed in China last year alone, and we expect that number will be reached or exceeded again this year. And that brings me to the translation of our perimeter boards. The first part, 中国 • 英利, is our company’s name: Yingli China. The second component, 光伏入户, translates as “Solar into every home.”
Why did we choose these messages? First, we are proud of our Chinese heritage and wanted to bring Chinese elements into the FIFA World Cup and to the world stage. Second, we wanted to tell the world that Yingli is from China – interestingly we were the first company to ever display the name of a non-English speaking country in its native language on the perimeter boards. Third, we show “Yingli Solar” in order to raise the profile of solar energy around the world. Finally, we include 光伏入户because we want to tell Chinese-speaking audiences that solar energy can be very close to all of our lives. We want to bring solar energy to every home, not just in China, but around the world.
As the first Chinese company and first renewable energy company to sponsor the FIFA World Cup, we are honored to represent both China and solar on the global stage, as the first carbon neutral sponsor in FIFA World Cup history!
(Photo Credit: Action Images / Alex Morton)