HSBC sign US$18mil deal to sponsor Shanghai’s first Grand Prix

SHANGHAI: British global banking giant HSBC Group have inked an US$18mil deal with Formula One organisers to sponsor Shanghai's first-ever Grand Prix, Chinese official press reported yesterday. 

“An agreement was finalised on Feb 27 between HSBC and All Sports,” the Shanghai Daily quoted a source close to the negotiations as saying. 

“The deal is worth more than £10mil (US$18.4mil),” the source said. 

The tenure of the agreement signed with All Sports, a Switzerland-based agency which represent Formula One management in selling commercial rights for the prestigious 18-race circuit, could be valid for three to five years, the newspaper said. 

Spokeswoman for HSBC China Zhang Dandan said the bank had indeed made an offer, but declined to give details. 

Another HSBC executive was only able to confirm that the bank had expressed interest. 

“I can confirm that we had talks with the championship's organisers,” said William Parry, head of sponsorship with the HSBC Group. 

“Nothing concrete has come out yet,” Parry said. 

Others engaged in the bidding process reportedly include the state-owned banking group Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Sinopec, the country's largest oil producer. 

On Sept 26, Shanghai will hold the first of seven Formula One races, as agreed to by the Shanghai International Circuit Company and the Federation Internationale De L'Automobile – motorsports' governing body – in 2002. 

London-based banking group HSBC are heavily involved in Formula One racing, and for the past eight years have been the primary sponsor of the Jaguar team, which finished seventh in the constructors standings in 2003. – AFP  

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