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Manchester City owner in deal to buy Chinese club as it looks to help build Xi Jinping's dreams of World Cup success

City Football Group, the owner of Manchester City, has expanded its investments to seven football clubs around the world with the purchase of a third-tier professional team in China, as it looks to tap into the huge potential for the game in the globe’s most populous country.

Partly because of its population of more than 1.3 billion people, professional football in China has long-been seen as having immense commercial and social potential.

However, an era of big money foreign signings in the Chinese Super League – the country’s top professional tier – seems to be drawing to a close.

"We cannot wait to get started.” According to Sheng Li, managing partner at China Sports Capital, the goal is to build Sichuan Jiuniu into one of the most professional football clubs in China "with long-term sustainability and develop an ever-growing pool of talented young players".

The involvement of UBTECH in the deal seems incongruous at first glance but the company has been developing the integration of AI and robots into education including helping children to develop their football skills.

AI startups to watch: The hottest machine learning startups in the UK

Artificial intelligence could contribute an additional global economic activity worth around $13 trillion by 2030, by which point around 70 percent of companies will have adopted at least one form of AI, according toa report by a 2018McKinsey Global Institute.

Given that the UK is home to eight of the top 20 European universities and 40 percent of Europe's tech unicorns already reside here, this is of little surprise.