Profile: Kenny Huang

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

Image caption,
Kenny Huang has set up a charity to help young Chinese athletes in the countryside

Huang Jianhua, also known by the English names Kenneth or Kenny, is involved in the worlds of business, sport and public relations.

His company, QSL Sports, promotes baseball and basketball in China - and looks for ways to make money out of them.

He was previously reported to be buying a stake in the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team in the United States, but that deal seems to have fallen through.

Mr Huang, who is in his 40s, also has a reputation for giving. Last year he was voted philanthropist of the year by the Chinese magazine BQ and the internet firm

He has set up a charity to develop the sporting potential of young Chinese people living in the countryside.

Lasting league

Sport is at the heart of much of what Mr Huang does.

"The foundation of the company is built upon China's success at the Beijing Olympic 2008, at which the country has proven itself as a leading sporting nation," it says on the website of his firm, which has offices in Hong Kong and Beijing.

Last year QSL Sports signed a contract with the Chinese Baseball League to manage a youth league for the next 15 years.

His stated aim is to improve Chinese baseball and to look for business opportunities.

"Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese players get to play in the best leagues in the world and so will the Chinese," said Mr Huang in a press statement.

QSL also this year signed a contract to promote, reform and manage Chinese basketball. It managed to persuade the Italian carmaker Ferrari, among others, to sponsor the league.

It is clear that Mr Huang wants to build a basketball league that lasts.

"We don't just want hero players, but we want fans to be loyal to the teams whether they win or lose," he is reported to have said.

He also helped China's best known sports star, Yao Ming, sign for the Houston Rockets basketball team in what is perhaps his biggest sporting deal to date.

Broad portfolio

Mr Huang, who has a degree from Zhongshan University in southern China, also has a solid business background.

He studied at New York's Columbia University and became the first Chinese university graduate from mainland China to work at the New York Stock Exchange.

The firm dealing with his public relations said Mr Huang had executive positions or some shareholding in a range of companies.

These include the Northeast Tigers basketball club in China's Jilin Province, a basketball magazine and a couple of sports marketing companies.

He was reported to be the public face of a group of investors who wanted to buy a 15% stake in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But QSL Sports said in a statement recently that "[Mr Huang does] not hold any stake personally in Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA in the US".

A spokeswoman for Hill and Knowlton, the public relations firm acting on Mr Huang's behalf, could give no more details about that deal.

When asked what kind of person Mr Huang was, she responded: "He is a businessman who has been actively involved in sports investment."

But he does not himself appear to have the kind of money needed to invest heavily in Liverpool Football Club.

And although he has done deals before, buying a stake in Liverpool would be the biggest deal he has so far been involved in.

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