Interview: Rising star Bellingham part of Dortmund’s 2020 virtual China tour

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By Oliver Trust and Liu Yang

BERLIN, July 21 (Xinhua) — Borussia Dortmund’s latest arrival Jude Bellingham will be a vital part of the club’s 2020 virtual tour of China.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2012 German champions decided to skip a scheduled trip to China this summer and instead intensify efforts to stay in contact with fans and partners in Asia.

Brief interviews with leading players on social media channels are one of the key topics, Benedikt Scholz, the club’s head of international revealed in a recent interview with Xinhua.

The transfer of Bellingham seems to come at the right time to attract further attention. Dortmund beat off fierce competition from the likes Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid to land the 17-year-old Englishman.

Having invested a reported 26.5 million euros (about 30.5 million U.S. dollars) to sign the gifted midfielder from English second-tier side Birmingham City, Dortmund is strengthening its reputation as football’s most promising nursery for young players.

Bellingham seems another brick in the wall after Dortmund’s strategy of developing emerging stars paid off in the cases of Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland, Christian Pulisic, Giovanni Reyna, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembele and Achraf Hakimi.

It is part of Borussia’s business pattern to sell ambitious youngsters for a profit after having the opportunity to develop on the highest level.

Sancho joined Dortmund in 2017 for seven million euros. The English international’s value has since risen to an estimated 100 million euros, with Manchester United said to be working on a deal.

Dortmund’s managing director Michael Zorc said the club can count on an impressive history when it comes to nurturing top young talents.

The former player added that BVB’s most convincing argument “is our line up.” Young talents not only get playing minutes in first round cup matches but are part of the playing unit in crucial games in the Bundesliga and the Champions League.

Part of the 30-day BVB ‘virtual Asia tour’ is a new official Tmall store with offline activities including pop-up stores showcasing fan memorabilia and the new team shirt, as well as influencers’ activations and exclusive livestreams.

Fan parties will be organized and fan reporters will report live from the training ground in Dortmund including live Q&A’s.

A BVB-branded bus will also cruise around Shanghai, with the bus tour including an on-the-road livestream show.

Dortmund has launched a BVB-branded China transportation card in partnership with Shanghai authorities, which will be available for purchase at over 200 locations across China.

Scholz said Dortmund will continue to give their full support to China and use the pandemic to find new ways to get closer to its huge fan base in the country. Enditem

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