Story By Michelangelo Rucci, Adelaide Advertiser

Photos by: Isaac Lawrence (HK)

PORT Adelaide will play in China next year — at least with its Aboriginal academy team.

And the Power’s commitment to the untouched and lucrative China market was highlighted Thursday with major announcements in Hong Kong.

Port Adelaide president David Koch and chief executive Keith Thomas revealed the Power would:

SEEK AFL approval for a pre-season game in China next year.

SEND the Port Adelaide Aboriginal academy team to China to play the Chinese national team in the seasons between the AFL International Cup series (which is played every three years in Melbourne). “Team China” is sponsored by the Power.

PLACE a full-time employee in China to work on game development.

PROVIDE Mandarin commentary for ABC International coverage of Port Adelaide’s AFL games, to make it more attractive for the Chinese market.

FURTHER moves for the first AFL match for premiership points to be played in China — probably on the Guangdong university campus — in 2017. The game could involve Melbourne, the other AFL club building links to China.

The Power revealed its ambitious “China Strategy” at a business lunch with 400 guests at the Hong Kong Football Club, where Advertiser columnist Graham Cornes was the guest speaker.

Thomas told The Advertiser that the Power’s “China Strategy” was part of the club’s determination to explore new markets and new sponsorship opportunities in non-traditional areas.

“Critically we are showing the China market that we want to build relationships in China rather than just grab a sponsorship cheque,” Thomas said.

“We’ve joined the AFL in wanting to develop the game in China, both with players and as a television rights market. Our commitment to this is highlighted by placing a full-time employee in China to work on game-development projects.

“We’re here in China to build partnerships.”

Port Adelaide’s partnership with UniSA — where fitness coach Darren Burgess has created a Masters degree on preparing high-performance athletes and teams — will spread to China with the Adelaide-based tertiary college striking an alliance with Guangdong University.