Global agency WME | IMG has appointed former National Basketball Association (NBA) executive Michael Ma as the chief executive of its new Chinese subsidiary.
Ma, who previously spent 13 years at the NBA developing its presence in China, will be based in Beijing and will be responsible for the entire management of new entity WME | IMG China.
The subsidiary was formed in June through a Sequoia Capital China-led investment group including Tencent, FountainVest Partners, and Focus Media. It will represent athletes within China, including tennis star Li Na, manage the WGC HSBC Champions Open and Shenzhen Open, and hold the media rights for the Chinese Super League.
“Michael brings not only a deep knowledge of the Chinese market, but also incredible experience in cultivating brands within China through his work with the NBA,” said WME | IMG co-chief executives Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell in a statement.
“We’re looking forward to working alongside Michael to expand our current business in China while creating new opportunities for our clients and partners in one of our fastest growing markets.”
Earlier this year, WME | IMG made the US$4 billion acquisition of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and will be looking to push the brand throughout China.