A massive financial investment from a well-known financial firm is expected to be a boon for ONE Championship and its future plans in China.
The Asian MMA promotion announced the investment from Heliconia, a subsidiary of Singapore financial giant Temasek, on Tuesday. ONE officials confirmed with MMA Fighting that the investment is in the high eight figures and will be used primarily for expansion plans in China. Sources told MMA Fighting that ONE will open up an office in Shanghai as early as this month.
"I believe this partnership marks the beginning of a long and fruitful journey to bring ONE Championship to the rest of the world," ONE CEO Victor Cui said in a press release. "Heliconia is a well-respected investment firm with the expertise, resources and contacts across Asia. For us, this investment by Heliconia represents a strong vote of confidence and a belief in the value that ONE Championship can bring. This partnership will unlock additional markets and opportunities for ONE Championship."
Growth in China is a goal for many companies in a variety of industries, because of the substantial population and potential for exponential financial success. The UFC is very interested in making moves in the country and will be attempting that with force under new owners WME-IMG, which already have deals in place there. Currently, the UFC has only had shows in Macau, not the mainland.
ONE has already held six events in China on the mainland, including one two weeks ago in Hefei. The plan is for more this year and in the future. Heliconia's support will be a big part of that. The company is a financial firm under Temasek that focuses on growth-oriented Singaporean companies. ONE is based in Singapore. Temasek as a whole manages a portfolio of nearly $200 billion USD.
"We believe ONE Championship can potentially be the next big thing for consumers in Asia," Heliconia CEO Derek Lau said. "They have the right product for Asia, they understand Asia and know how to monetize the value proposition in various ways in the New Economy. We are really excited to see ONE Championship taking the lead in the coming years to grow the sports media and entertainment industry in Asia."