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9 March 2005, 10:49 am
China Joins The Ranks Of America's Cup Hopefuls
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America's Cup 2007
China

China Team is joining with French company Le Defi to launch a 32 million euro bid to challenge for the 2007 America's Cup
Chaoyong WANG, Chairman of China Equity Investment Group, a leading Chinese venture capital firm, and Xavier DE LESQUEN (FRA), America's Cup sailor and co-founder of Le Defi, a French sports management company, have today announced a joint venture that opens the way for China to participate at the America's Cup for the first time.

The Chinese bid, to be called China Team, will benefit from the experience that Le Defi has gathered over the past two America's Cup cycles. China Team's objective is to build a competitive team for the 32nd America's Cup and a platform for a successful challenge. The team will be acquiring a base in Qingdao, the city that will host the sailing of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Scouting, selection and training of the best Chinese talent across the disciplines of sport, logistics, communication, marketing and administration will begin later in 2005.

From DE LESQUEN's point of view the joint venture is: 'an extraordinary opportunity and adventure for all of us. As part of China Team and the America's Cup we will become part of this immense country and civilization providing an exceptional opportunity to the companies supporting the project. China Team will have direct access to more than one billion Chinese people.'

Michel BONNEFOUS, CEO of the America's Cup event organization, commented: 'We are excited about the possibility of a strong Chinese project for the 32nd America's Cup. This is a positive step and one which corresponds to our desire for further development of the Cup throughout the world. The values of the America's Cup are not just western, they are above all global.'

Le Defi managed the French America's Cup challenges in 1999 and 2002, reaching the semi-finals and quarter-finals of the 'Louis Vuitton Cup'. In the 2004 America's Cup Championship Le Defi finished in fifth place behind Emirates Team New Zealand, BMW Oracle Racing, Team Alinghi and Luna Rossa Challenge.

Eight teams from seven countries have already challenged the Swiss Defender Alinghi for the 32nd America's Cup which will be raced for in Valencia, Spain in 2007. Challenges for the 32nd edition close on 29th April 2005.

ChinaEquity Group Inc. (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Le Defi yacht FRA 69:© Pierrick Contin
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