Melbourne Football Club is excited to announce China Southern Airlines as a new Platinum Plus Partner in 2014.

The world’s fourth largest airline will become the Club’s second highest commercial partner.

China Southern will become Melbourne Football Club’s presenting membership partner and gain extensive exposure through the Club’s media backdrop, scroll and parapet signage at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), digital advertising through the website and extensive match day activations.

At a signing ceremony at the MCG on Thursday, Melbourne Football Club CEO Peter Jackson said: “This is a great statement of the Club’s ongoing efforts to build respect in the business community, to attract a global company that has already invested heavily into Australia.”

“China Southern has seen the changes taking place at the Melbourne Football Club and see an iconic brand and name [in Melbourne] that can assist them build awareness and reach new customers through our national game – a game invented and codified by our Club.

“This is also significant for the AFL industry, as China Southern marks the first Chinese company to undertake a commercial partnership with an AFL Club – a historic first for the AFL’s first club.”

Discussions with China Southern first started in 2010 after Melbourne Football Club played Brisbane in the Shanghai Showdown as part of the World Expo.

This exhibition match and the Club’s subsequent China strategy reflects as Peter Jackson said “the benefits of relationships and patience in building trust to achieve positive outcomes”.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, the largest source of tourist and international students, and China Southern plays a significant role in driving and delivering this ever increasing two way trade.

China Southern currently flies a double daily service in the peak summer period between Melbourne and Guangzhou and connects to over 90 Chinese and 40 international destinations including the recently launched Canton Route to London and Europe. Last year, China Southern carried 91.8 million passengers a six per cent increase from 2012 making it the largest airline in Asia. China Southern trains its pilots in Western Australia and has employed Australian flight attendants on some flights departing Sydney.

Chinese Consul General Song Yuming attending the signing ceremony at the MCG hoped that this partnership would bring mutual success “on the wings of victory”.