Birmingham City have announced a ground-breaking agreement with Chinese sportswear firm Xtep to supply their kit for the next five years, which is believed to be the first time an English side have opted to use a Chinese business to supply their strip and associated training and leisure wear apparel.
The deal, worth £7.8 million, was described as the most lucrative in the club’s history as investment continues to be attracted from China, Hong Kong and the Far East on the back of Carson Yeung’s arrival.
Peter Pannu, Birmingham vice-chairman executive and finance, said: “This is a fantastic deal for the football club.
“Not only is it a superb deal commercially, being the biggest sponsorship the club has acquired, but also on a brand level as it promotes the club internationally. Xtep are big players in the sportswear market in China and this partnership will expand the Birmingham City FC brand in the Far East.”
The club had been negotiating with a number of kit suppliers to replace current suppliers Umbro, whose contract finishes at the end of the season.
But those talks began before Yeung completed his takeover and it was perhaps inevitable that he would tap into the fast-growing sportswear industry back home.
Birmingham also promised to ask supporters to help choose the design of the jerseys for the 2010-11 season.
The Xtep brand was established in 2002. The business is based in Quanzhou, Fujian province.