BusinessWeek takes a long-ish look the American National Basketball Association’s surprise pilfering of Timothy Chen, head honcho of Microsoft China, to be it’s new top man in the Middle Kingdom. The league’s motivation? Guanxi.
…At first blush, Chen is an unusual hire, given Microsoft China’s success and his lack of a sports or media background. However Heidi Ueberroth, the NBA’s president of global marketing partnerships and international business operations, who led the job search for a China CEO, says a key aspect was Chen’s ability to forge relationships with Chinese companies and the government. Also, as the NBA expands its digital media strategy in China, his tech industry experience should serve Chen well, says Ueberroth [Full Text]
The article goes on to examine the NBA’s considerable prospects in China and quotes the league as claiming China has 300 million basketball fans. That number, the league is quick to note, is roughly equal to the entire US population.