Fifa has netted a fifth Chinese sponsor for the 2018 World Cup
Fifa has netted a fifth Chinese sponsor for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, despite the country's national team not qualifying for the tournament.
Football's governing body has named electric transportation firm Yadea as a regional supporter for this summer's event.
Yadea joins fellow Chinese companies China Mengniu Dairy, electronics firm Hisense, smartphone brand Vivo and the Wanda Group as a sponsor of the tournament. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has also struck a deal with Fifa to sponsor the Club World Cup.
All have partnered with Fifa in recent years as the governing body has struggled to woo Western firms following the corruption scandal which led to the ousting of numerous executives including former long-serving president Sepp Blatter.
Read more:Clouds still hanging over Russia 2018
Sony, Emirates, Castrol, Continental and Johnson & Johnson all opted not to renew deals that expired after the 2014 World Cup.
Sponsorships made up a significant chunk of the £2.9bn from Brazil tournament, 85 per cent of the group's entire revenue for 2011 – 2014.
With the exodus threatening Fifa's financial health — the company is expected to announce a £400m loss for 2017 — Chinese firms have stepped in to stem the revenue loss.
Chinese firms' entrance into the market reflects the sport's growing presence in the country, spearheaded by president Xi Jinping's proclamation that the country should host and win the World Cup by 2020.
Fifa now has 15 sponsors on various levels for the 2018 World Cup, five fewer than it had in Brazil. It has 20 slots on offer to companies to become "regional supporters" of event — the tournament's second-tier sponsorship — but Yadea is only the second company after Russia's Alfa-Bank to have struck a deal leaving 18 slots still to be filled. And there are still three slots for top-line World Cup sponsors to be filled and one for Fifa partners.
"We are pleased to welcome Yadea to our line-up of Regional Supporters and are looking forward to working with them so that we can reach more football fans in such a major region for Fifa," said the organisation's chief commercial officer Philippe Le Floc'h.
"Yadea appeals to young people and to a more sustainable lifestyle, two aspects that are extremely important to us."