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Formula One is on the hunt for a Chinese partner to establish a local venture in a bid to position the motor racing as a premium entertainment event.

According to Reuters, Formula One owner Liberty Media Corp have spoken with a number of Chinese companies, including Suning and DDMC to form a joint venture.

Suning, which is one of China’s biggest retailers, has strong interests in sports and owns Inter Milan football club, while DDMC owns the Chinese broadcast rights to La Liga and English Premier League.  

The move aims to take advantage of the nascent China market and coincides with the Shanghai Grand Prix, which took place yesterday. The Shanghai race was broadcast by state broadcaster CCTV, while Tencent was the digital media partner that provided live streaming available across mobile and social media.  

Last year, Formula One hired sports marketing agency Lagardere Sports to raise the profile of motor racing in China. At the time, F1 said Lagardere Sports was tasked with building strategic partnerships in China including media rights, digital and brand partnerships and racing team development.

Last month, Formula One revealed its direct streaming app, and shared its marketing plans with The Drum.