Even though the national team of China has an abysmal World Cup record, Chinese fans cannot deny the enthusiasm of the world's biggest football tournament as the country's state media claiming a total of 60,000 fans traveling to Russia for the once-in-four-year grand event.
According to FIFA, fans from China bought around 37,000 tickets, ranking ninth among the top 11 countries purchasing the tournament entries. Russia tops the list with 800,000 buyers, and England ranks the least with 31,000.
Professor Simon Chadwick of Sports Enterprise at the University of Salford said those Chinese fans are from the country's ever-enlarging middle class, whose population has been estimated to cover 76 percent of China's urban population by 2022. Affluent Chinese people have a growing interest to engage with World Cup, and they are likely to spend time in restaurants and shops buying branded products during their outbound stay period, he added.
During the tournament, Chinese fans are eager to support their favorite team and players, such as Argentina's Lionel Messi and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. Statistics show Ronaldo has 1.8 million followers on Weibo, China's social media platform equivalent to Twitter.
The defending Germany team is one of the favorites among many Chinese fans, despite their surprise defeat 0-1 to Mexico in the opening Group F game in Russia.
In the past few years, Chinese Super League clubs have signed several leading players of Brazil; as a result, to salute to the football giant from the South American continent.