With China rapidly emerging as a global economic power, it comes as little surprise that many international firms have been keen to associate themselves with the Beijing Olympics.
One of them is logistics firm UPS.
A sponsor of the 1996 and 2000 Summer Games in Atlanta and Sydney, and the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, UPS is this year rekindling its relationship with the Games after an eight-year hiatus.
Perry Chao, vice-president of UPS China, said: "China is a very important market for UPS. We are looking forward to developing it through our sponsorship of the Beijing Games."
Yuan Bin, director of the marketing department of BOCOG (the organizers of the Beijing Olympics), said: "Companies realize the brand value of the Olympics and its power as a marketing platform. With the addition of China's huge market, the Olympic brand is even richer.
"The energy of the Chinese market has attracted more sponsors and given Olympic marketing a new look. For example, largely due to the country's vast numbers of Internet and cellphone users, Sohu.com was chosen as the first official Internet content sponsor in Olympic history."
Many Olympic sponsors are reaping the rewards of their involvement before the Games have even begun.
Yang Yuanqing, chairman of Lenovo Group, the world's fourth-largest computer-maker and the first "Olympic Partner" (TOP), said: "Being associated with the Beijing Games has enhanced our status around world, especially in countries and regions outside China."
The Beijing Olympics has more than 60 sponsors, of which, 12 are TOPs, 11 are partners, 10 are tier-two sponsors, 15 are exclusive suppliers, and 16 are suppliers.
GE, another TOP, said it has revised its marketing notions as a result of sponsoring the Beijing Games.
Jim Fisher, who heads GE's Olympic operations in China, said: "The experience we have drawn from our involvement with the Beijing Games has increased our ability to provide targeted solutions for clients."
(China Daily via china.org.cn March 27, 2008)