Manchester City team up with Japan's MLJ for mobile web

LONDON (Reuters) - English soccer Premier League leaders Manchester City have teamed up with MLJ Inc to develop a Japanese mobile website, the start of a drive to target a growing Asian fan base.

The partnership gives Tokyo-based MLJ Inc rights to develop Manchester City's official Japanese mobile website for non-smartphone handheld mobile devices until May 2013.

The website will host local-language news, downloadable team photography, as well as giving City's Japanese fans access to merchandise, memorabilia and match-day tickets.

Big spending City, bankrolled by cash from Abu Dhabi, are emerging as a force in English soccer and won the FA Cup last season, their first major trophy since 1976.

They are still some way behind local rivals Manchester United in terms of revenue generation, ranking 12th in Deloitte's international Football Money League published on Thursday.

United were third in a list headed by Real Madrid, followed by fellow Spaniards Barcelona.

"This deal marks another chapter in the club's digital strategy to engage with our international fan base, bringing supporters as close as possible to the match-day experience, through greater interaction online and on mobile," said Ian Cafferky, chief brand & commercial officer for Manchester City.

(Reporting by Keith Weir; Editing by David Holmes)

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