By James Crook

China Table TennisJanuary 14 - Dubai have announced a deal to sponsor the Chinese national table tennis team as part of an ongoing project to promote relations between Dubai and China.

Table tennis is extremely well supported in China, with more than 100 million people in the country tuning in for the World Championship Final each year.

As part of the deal, the name Dubai will now feature on the Chinese team's official clothing.

"The United Arab Emirates and China already have close ties across many sectors including business, arts and culture, and sports" said Al Tayer, deputy chairman of the Dubai Sports Council.

"With this in mind, we are pleased today to further strengthen this existing cooperation by signing an agreement to sponsor the esteemed Chinese national table tennis team; a sponsorship that will enable us to achieve the various set objectives that we have in common."

China is currently Dubai's second largest trading partner, and the Emirate was visited by around 200,000 Chinese tourist last year, as well as being home to around 200,000 Chinese residents.

Dubai Table TennisDubai have announced a deal to sponsor the Chinese national table tennis team

John Ferguson, vice-chairman of Falcon and Associates, a company founded by Ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoumn to promote the growth of Dubai, said: "Dubai's relationship with China is important today and is set to become even more important in the future.

"China is a major trading partner, and there are increasing social and cultural exchanges.

"Supporting table tennis, which has played an important role in the modern history of China, demonstrates the importance Dubai places on its relationship with China."

The top-four ranked table tennis players in the world are from China, with six players overall in the top 10.

Xu Xin, a 22-year-old from Jiangsu, is currently ranked as the sport's best player after winning six World Tour titles in the past three years, including two consecutive Qatar Open titles and a 2012 China Open title.

The World Championship has only been won by a non-Chinese player on two occasions since 1971 and Chinese players have taken every medal available in the sport at the past two Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

The deal gives Dubai the opportunity for huge worldwide exposure, with table tennis tournaments featuring the Chinese national team often featuring on channels such as Eurosport, Asia's Star Sports and ESPN.

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