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BRANDING NEWS: Rio Tinto aims to break China | B2B Marketing


The Royal Ballet in a production of ‘Sylvia’

Mining giant Rio Tinto has announced that it will sponsor the Royal Ballet Tour when it visits China this summer. The five-week tour, which operates through the Royal Opera House (ROH), is set to kick off in mid-June at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing before moving on to Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Tony Hall, chief executive of the ROH, says, “This is a fantastically important tour for the Royal Ballet; to be in Beijing in the run-up to the Olympics is a privilege. The fact that Rio Tinto is supporting us and helping us to be there is phenomenally important; not just for the Royal Ballet or the ROH, but for the UK as well. We’ve very excited to be able to share the extraordinary performances by The Royal Ballet with Chinese audiences live on such a prestigious new stage.”
Rio Tinto’s announcement follows news last month that Deloitte is entering a five-year sponsorship deal with the ROH, reported to be worth around £1.75 million, which will manifest itself in an annual three-day festival called Deloitte Ignite targeted at young professionals. The deal also involves the ROH agreeing to host club nights for the first time ever from September this year.
Paul Skinner, chairman of Rio Tinto, continues, “China’s economy is expanding rapidly and it is an increasingly important consumer of the metals and minerals we produce. We hope to forge even closer ties with China by helping to make the tour possible and bringing this outstanding company to Chinese audiences. This is a particularly prestigious and important tour as it coincides with the Beijing Cultural festival.”
Guy Elliot, Rio Tinto’s finance director adds, “China is at an exceptionally important stage as far as mining companies are concerned. This is one of our most important markets as it dominates every single market in which we are involved. [This is] a very exciting opportunity for all our stakeholders in China; that is, our employees, our customers, government officials, joint venture partners, shareholders – there’s a whole range of stakeholders who will see this sponsorship. To be able to show something like The Royal Ballet to such a lot of people is really exciting.”
The tour will include performances of signature ballets including Kenneth MacMillan’s ‘Manon’ and Monica Mason and Christopher Newton’s production of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’. The Royal Ballet will also hold a series of workshops in a bid to encourage children in Beijing to take up dancing through the ROH. These workshops will also help to strengthen the ROH’s long-term ties with the NCPA in Beijing by promoting the ROH brand in China as well as consolidating the NCPA brand in the UK in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics.


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