STEVEN ZHANG: "INTER IS ABOUT GLORY, VICTORIES AND HISTORY"

Our new President today spoke for the first time during the Shareholders' Meeting

MILAN - Good afternoon everyone and a warm welcome to this Shareholders’ Meeting.

Today, Friday 26th October 2018, marks the beginning of a New Era for our Club, FC Internazionale Milano.

It’s been almost two years now that I have been managing Inter and since the beginning of this fascinating journey, our intentions have been clear. We knew that we were taking on one of the most prestigious clubs in the world - Inter is all about glory, victories and history. It is a matter of passion and faith for millions of people all over the world.

And we have been true to our word. The results that the club has achieved are proof of this.

Thanks to the efforts of our team, both on and off the pitch, Inter is now back in the UEFA Champions League after a six-year absence, once again competing in the best club competition in the world. Our youth sector has continued to perform at the highest levels, adding seven more titles to their list of honours.

On the financial side, our revenues have risen consistently while we have also reduced our losses and controlled our costs. Revenues for FY 2018 were €347 million, a 9 percent increase from the previous year and 45 percent up from the year before.

We have worked to increase the value of our brand and invested in technology to improve our reach and communications with the millions of Inter fans that we have all around the world.

Much of this is the result of developing commercial revenues from international markets outside of Italy. We will continue in this direction driving up revenues from the wide appeal that the club and brand have around the world.

We created new partnership agreements and opened up new frontiers for the club, especially in China thanks to the resources of Suning and their influence in Asia.

I would also like to say a special thank you to our fans, who are always by our side, and who helped us to fill the San Siro with over one million fans during the 2017-18 season. If we look at this season this positive trend looks likely to repeat itself.

The passion of our fans is reflected in the interest in our Club. We have increased our global reach and we are now the 11th most followed Club in the World with 346 million fans worldwide (source: Nielsen). And over the past year our Brand Value has doubled. We are currently in 13th place, according to the Brand Finance Report on Football Clubs, up 15 places from 28th place in 2017.

In 2018 we celebrated our 110th anniversary and launched a new project, the Inter Hall of Fame, in order to celebrate the achievements of former great players from our history, keeping them within the Nerazzurri family.  We participated in Milano Design Week for the first time and the Club will continue to be more involved in such activities that represent the culture, fashion and lifestyle of Milano around the world.

And 2018 was the first full year of our Inter Media house, a project to value our brand by promoting the lifestyle elements of the Club and its players, as the sports industry increasingly shifts to an entertainment type model, driven thanks to the growing power of today’s social media.

This led us to rebrand the club channel as Inter TV, investing in new HD technology and new talent, and creating new video-led content for our social media channels. The results have been impressive and the club has gained five million followers across all our channels.

Our objective is to rebuild Inter on a solid foundation with a long-term vision and to turn it into the most modern, innovative and successful club in the world.  At the same time we want to keep hold of the club’s values, traditions, and DNA – a unique legacy that the Moratti family left in this club.

Today, with Suning’s resources and under my leadership, we have all the tools needed to accelerate this ambitious project for the club and to implement our holistic vision.

Today, I am extremely proud to continue leading this club into a New Era.

I feel the responsibility of satisfying the passion of the millions of fans all over the world and, I am more than ready to accept the challenge of President in the 110th year of this prestigious club.

Looking Forward…

Sporting results always come first

Our main mission and core business as a football Club is, and will always be, the optimal sports performance on the pitch. We will continue to make the sports side the number one focus of our attention, and make sure that the team has all the best support necessary to compete and be successful at the very highest level on both the international and the domestic stage.

This is what you as shareholders and all of our fans expect from us and this is our main task and duty while we guide this great club.

To build success at the club, we will not only strengthen the team within the boundaries of rules but also continue raising the best talent through our club.  Promising players who will become Inter champions in the coming years. For this reason, we will improve our sporting infrastructures to become more modern and innovative.

Becoming a strong club off the pitch

Off the pitch, we will make Inter as strong a company as it is on the pitch. We must build strong skills in the commercial and marketing areas and further strengthen the management team. In this way, we can support the growth of the commercial and marketing-led revenues of the club that will allow us to compete fully in the sporting market. Success breeds success. The team off the pitch must be professional, hard-working and diligent in order to support the team on the pitch.

More international and true to our beliefs - “Brothers of the World”

Internazionale is our name, and we will stay true to it. We will keep enlarging the scope of our business globally and we plan to further explore the potential of the Asian and American markets, including China. However, we must never forget our roots and the DNA that has made Inter what it is. So Italy and Milano will always be at the core of all the activities and daily life of the club. While we are “Brothers of the World” we are also #MadeOfMilano.

Our club, staff and management, and most of our activities are based in Milan. But in these past years, we have started to build up teams outside of Italy to serve our partners and fans around the world. Inter will become a bridge between cultures and a platform to facilitate exchanges, generating mutual benefit and support.

Sport is the best way to connect people, to create communities that belong together even if they are miles apart, united by their passion for a team.

More technology enabled

In today’s age of digital transformation, a football club such as Inter, cannot ignore the opportunities that technology is bringing us.

The digital transformation of our club was initiated by the creation of our Media House and is now underway in other areas of the club. We will continue on this journey and explore further the possibilities of digital management and digital communications, to make Inter a leader in this field.

Digital technology is now embedded in our daily lives and also within sport. It opens up a window of opportunities for the Club to engage with our fans and partners alike, to bring them into our world, closer to us, closer to the action, and closer to the players.

Through our social media channels, we can reach our millions of fans wherever they are in the world, providing them with unique content, results, reactions and emotions from our matches and our players in real time. This will allow us to reach them at any given moment and transport them to inside the world of Inter.

Inter’s values, not just a football club

But we must remember that Inter isn’t just about football and what happens on the field. Sport is also an expression of values and teaches us all important lessons.

Through the culture of Inter, we will continue to uphold the sporting values of honest competition, fair play and sportsmanship. Together with our stakeholders, we will spread positive energy and messages to all our fans and society as a whole.

We will work on the values of diversity and respect and will continue giving back to the community, our community of “Brothers of the World”.

But the Club must continue to innovate, we must not stand still. After 110 years of history this week we announced the official integration of an Inter Women’s team into the Club. We must also continue supporting the work done in the youth sector, which has been so successful in previous years, investing in our scouting network to help find the talents of the future.

We are also active within the football governing bodies at a European level with UEFA and ECA and at a world level with FIFA, while we remain fully supportive domestically of Lega Serie A and of the Italian FA’s efforts to introduce stricter governance and reform.

We started our journey, all of us together almost two years ago, with one objective in mind - to bring Inter back to the Global Football Elite.

I believe that with your help I am now ready to take the next steps. Together we can take this Club forward into a new era of success

Thank you and Forza Inter Forever!

 


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