• 2015 Shanghai International Marathon

2015 Shanghai International Marathon (Photo : Getty Images)

Wanda Group’s continuous investments in sports will bring about the first international marathon in China, along with other top-level marathons to occur all over Asia, Channel News Asia reported.

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The news was announced by Wanda Group on Wednesday, April 26, as part of a comprehensive sports investment signed with Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM).

Wanda Group’s investments in sports are just part of the company’s diversification efforts. Recently, the Chinese industry leader headed by Wang Jianlin also ventured into China’s  entertainment industry. According to Channel News Asia, diversification is Wanda Group’s means to combat real estate volatility.

It’s just a bonus that marathons, and running in general, are gaining traction in China.

“The fact that marathons are so popular in China is proof that Chinese people are getting richer,” Wang Jianlin, who is considered as one of the richest men in China, told his audience during the ceremony.

“Once you have enough to eat, you feel like running.”

China’s first international marathon, the China World Marathon Major, is planned to take place in two or three years, Wang also announced in the ceremony.

The China World Marathon Major will not be the first marathon in China. Several races with the required distance have already taken place in various Chinese cities. What these sporting events have failed to attract, however, is the attention of the international running scene.

Through partnering with WMM, which is considered as the largest marathon series in the world, Wanda Group hopes that the China World Marathon Major will come up to par with established and internationally renowned marathons such as the Olympic Games Marathon and the Boston Marathon.

Aside from the marathon in China, the Wanda Group and WMM deal will also bring two WMM races in the Asia-Pacific region in the next 10 years. The financial details of the deal, however, remain private.