Shanghai, China: WeChat, the most popular communication platform in China, has announced a new partnership initiative with the WGC-HSBC Champions to launch a bespoke Mini Game ahead of the 2019 tournament.
The Mini Game aims to introduce golf to a broader audience using innovative digital technologies.
WeChat, joined as an Official Partner of the tournament in 2018, becoming the first digital platform to collaborate with a World Golf Championship event.
The WeChat Mini Game is designed to be simple and intuitive for both a golfing and non-golfing audience, capitalising on the growing global trend of mobile gaming and the social media platform’s popular game function. The game incorporates social elements such as competing with friends and other spectators and aims to showcase golf and strengthen connections between participating fans.
The Mini Game will feature four seasons, each of two weeks, with the winners of each season receiving an invitation to compete at the Grand Finals on-site at Shanghai’s Sheshan International Golf Club during the tournament week. Top scorers in each season also stand to win a range of prizes from tournament sponsors such as Descente apparel, WeChat merchandise, Mercedes-Benz gifts, Nei Can Baijiu prizes, VOSS Water redemption vouchers and TaylorMade golf products.
WeChat has become a major sponsor of golf in recent years, supporting many Chinese male and female professional golfers including two-time European Tour winner Li Haotong, leading the pack at this year’s tournament. To further commemorate the 15th anniversary of WGC-HSBC Champions, Mini Game players can unlock a special character in Li Haotong when they score 15 points or more.
A specially created ‘WeChat Mini-Programme’ launched last year, as a custom-made application to enhance the spectator experience allowing fans to gain access to real time tournament information and scores, will also benefit from upgraded technologies at next month’s event. WeChat Pay will once again be available throughout the Spectator Village having enriched the digital and on-site experience for spectators last year.
Commenting on the partnership, WeChat said: “We are delighted to be extending our partnership with an event as world renowned as the WGC-HSBC Champions and look to build even stronger connections with this new innovative WeChat Mini Game. We believe this will be a catalyst for growing our international exposure as well as being of great interest to our core audience in China.
“We grow our efforts within golf because we think it is an excellent platform to promote our brand and generate engaging content for our audience. WeChat remains committed to utilising the spirit of sport in forging connections, facilitating communication and building an eco-system for information exchange whilst staying true to its ethos of embracing openness.”
Jonathan Castleman, HSBC’s Global Head of Brand Partnerships, said: “This is a hugely exciting partnership that has the potential to take WGC-HSBC Champions and golf to an entirely new and diverse audience across China. When HSBC first brought world-class golf to China, our sponsorship of the event came from a desire to open up the game to more people.
“Fifteen years later and with our flagship tournament established as ‘Asia’s Major’ our ambition to grow and reach new fans still holds true. In response to modern lifestyle, golf continues to evolve and we are proud to support any innovative first that can make golf, in any format whether on a course or online, more accessible and enjoyable for all.”
WeChat is a mobile communications platform available internationally, providing users the chance to engage in real time with multiple functionalities including instant messaging, photo sharing and games through an easy to use app. In China, WeChat is home to integrated services, including paying bills, hailing rides and making reservations.