Inter Milan president Erik Thohir seeking investment from China
Inter Milan president Erick Thohir has announced he is seeking partners to invest in the Italian club, with China the first market he is to explore.
Thohir said prior to his next visit to Milan he set the record straight by revealing he is on the lookout for somebody to buy a stake in the club, following reports that he might be seeking to sell the club outright.
"I asked Goldman Sachs to look into the possibility of finding a partner in China, where a large portion of the 190 million Inter fans in the Asia-Pacific region and the 264 million Nerazzurri supporters worldwide live," the Indonesian businessman told the club's official website.
"We have to use those numbers to our advantage if we are to get back among the world's top ten clubs. The potential of the Chinese market for the football system is enormous and that's why I asked Goldman Sachs to sound out potential partners. We need to work together and they know the market better than me.
"Obviously we're not only looking at China -- we can look for partners in other countries too. We have Inter Academies in countries like Saudi Arabia, China and the U.S., for example. There's nothing strange about looking for commercial partners."
Thohir gained a majority stake in Inter in November 2013 and declared his desire to have the club competing for the Champions League again within five years.
He has already made radical changes in the club's management and is constantly pursuing commercial opportunities, which he says are vital not only to his own club, but to other Serie A clubs.
"Inter should not depend solely on buying and selling players," he added. "We need to develop our commercial business and become even more international. We've made good progress in the last two years.
"If you look at the rest of Europe you see that the second biggest source of income after TV rights is not stadium revenue but the commercial sector. One area where Serie A lags behind the Premier League is that the English league is global and promotes itself on a global scale. The Italian league needs to do that too."
Inter are currently fourth in the standings, just a point behind third-placed Fiorentina and a place in the Champions League next season.