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Inter Milan's new dawn under China's Suning Holdings Group

"We are going to make Inter Milan stronger and more splendid," said Suning Holdings Chairman Zhang Jindong on Monday afternoon as China's biggest retail company took a majority stake in one of the world's most prestigious clubs.

The city of Nanjing has witnessed plenty of historic events but few can have been as glitzy as this news conference, where the deal was announced. Suning have acquired a 68.55 percent stake in the Serie A giants for a reported fee of around €270 million.

There was already some history. Inter were the first Italian club to visit the Middle Kingdom in 1978 (just a month after West Brom from England), drawing 1-1 with China in Beijing in the first of the four-game tour.

Serie A was the first European league to become popular in the Middle Kingdom in its late 20th century heyday with fans being able to see the big boys in live action on a regular basis. The older population, and veteran newspaper writers, retain an affection for the Milan clubs and Juventus. Such teams have, however, fallen well behind the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United in recent years. It remains to be seen how the new Chinese connection changes things and other aspects.

Inter fans may be asking what it means for their club but they are not the only ones. The first to be taken over was Jiangsu. Suning, whose giant department stores can be seen all over the country, paid around €70m to buy the Chinese Super League side in December 2015.

Soon after came the big names. The first was Ramires from Chelsea at a cost of around €32m. There were more headlines in February when the Brazilian was joined by compatriot Alex Teixeira, who cost €50 million.

That was not all. Former Manchester City and Everton striker Jo completed a Brazilian trio with Australian international central defender Trent Sainsbury also arriving. There was money spent on domestic talent too, around €6.7m securing the services of Gu Chao, making the 26-year-old the most expensive goalkeeper in Chinese football.

With all the investment it was expected the team would improve on last season's ninth place finish, though not challenge for the title. After all, Guangzhou Evergrande had a six-year start in the investment stakes with the last five domestic championships.

Jiangsu have improved. A recent run of three games without a win have seen them drop to third place but just about in touch with leaders Guangzhou. The team also exited the Asian Champions League at the group stage but were a little unlucky to do so. This season at least, there is probably not the capability to challenge on two fronts. Finishing in the top three to qualify for next season's continental competition would be decent enough progress.

It will be done without Dan Petrescu, who left the club with a return to Russia beckoning. Former Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is a frontrunner to replace him and if he could do something similar to Marcello Lippi at Guangzhou Evergrande from 2012 to 2014, fans in Nanjing would be happy indeed.

A world famous coach would help assuage some fears among Jiangsu fans. It is understandable that with the owners buying a bigger club, the old one could be forgotten. The supporters are a little concerned the money that will be spent by Suning in Italy may mean there is less for them in China. It is unlikely in the short-term at least. With big name foreigners in place, the next step for Jiangsu is to improve their Chinese players.

That will happen through signings and, now, perhaps, through Inter. Officials said on Monday that it is only a matter of time before a Chinese player heads to the San Siro. There was also talk of using Inter's training, sports science and coaching knowhow to help Jiangsu improve. The two clubs are now connected and part of something bigger.

"Acquiring Inter Milan is a major part of Suning's international development," said Zhang. "This is our first step to move into Southeast Asia and the European markets."

Suning have major ambitions to become a sporting force around the world. Zhang talked of a global "ecosystem" that involved owning clubs, player agencies, media companies and plenty more besides.

Inter fans won't care too much about that. After a difficult few years, they have new owners who have big ambitions and deep pockets.

And while that is no guarantee of success, how it turns out is going to be watched closely by millions all over the world, especially in Nanjing.