Huawei signed up Lionel Messi, recognized as one of the world's best football players, to be the company's latest Global Brand Ambassador in a deal that could just be the highest-paid sponsorship to date involving a Chinese OEM and a professional global figure.
Huawei reportedly spent a staggering $6 million for the sponsorship. Upon announcing the news last month, Huawei reasoned out that it has selected Messi as its Global Brand Ambassador because of his impressive performance on the field and his immense popularity around the world.
"Lionel Messi will help our brand to encourage people to focus, persevere and breakthrough; to connect with greatness, especially in Europe, Asia and Latin America, where Huawei puts great devotions," said Kevin Ho, president of Huawei Handset Business.
While the new business relationship between Huawei and Messi is public knowledge following the formal announcement, the company never disclosed just how much it paid to have the football legend represent its brand. News that the deal was worth $6 million just surfaced now, courtesy of ITHome.
Lionel Messi is an Argentine-born soccer player who earned his first recognition in FIFA in 2009 as "World Player of the Year." In January 2013, Messi broke records after being named "FIFA World Player of the Year" for the fourth time. He led Team Argentina to the 2014 World Cup finals, where he was named the best player of the tournament.
Huawei sees sports as a great arena where people can enriching their lives and therefore the company wants to build a strong commitment to sports in general, while focusing particularly on football. For the past couple of years, the company has ventured into investing in a number of teams and players who mirror their brand values. These include AC Milan, Atletico de Madrid, Arsenal, Sporting Cristal, Santa Fe, the America, Alexis Sanchez and Robert Lewandowski.
Huawei's sponsorship deal with Messi is not the first time that a Chinese manufacturer had contracted an artist or a superstar to be the company's brand ambassador. Some celebrity brand ambassadors in this regard are Yang Mi for Oppo, Kobe Bryant for Lenovo and Angelababy for Meitu, among others.
Huawei is now one of the top three smartphone makers in the world and boasts a number of flagship models and smartphone series that include the Mate, P and G. The company's Mate 8, which launched officially on Nov. 26, 2015, caters particularly to smart business professionals who are in the market for devices with new style. Huawei had so far shipped around 3 million Mate 8 devices worldwide.