Manchester City
Manchester City players celebrate scoring a goalJon Super/AFP/Getty Images

The holding company for Manchester City Football Club is scouring Chinese football looking for the right club to buy, according to one of its top executives.

"We have said that we are looking for other clubs to buy and we are looking very hard at the Chinese market," said Tom Glick, chief commercial officer of City Football Group, which also owns clubs in Japan, Australia and the US.

Glick added: "I spend about a quarter of my time in China and it is one of the most exciting football markets in the world. That represents a great opportunity for us."

Glick was speaking at the Millennial 20/20 Summit in New York, which brings together literally hundreds of brands aimed at attracting the hard-to-reach 18 to 30 age group.

Traditionally, this is a key group for retailers who fight hard for this age group, and then bid to build a lucrative life-long relationship. The two-day conference attracted such brands as Google, Coca Cola and Heineken.

But this generation is harder to sell to, as they look set to earn less than prior generations, and prefer experiences over branded products.

Research by the UK think tank Resolution Foundation found last summer that the millennial age group - born between 1980 and 2000 - are likely to earn a career average of £825,000, putting them on course to be the first generation to earn less than the previous generation.

City Football Group, owned by Abu Dhadabi's Sheikh Mansour, hopes to take advantage of the interest in the sport that comes from the top of Chinese society.

President Xi Jinping has called for a huge transformation in grass roots football in China. He paid a visit to Manchester City's new training complex in 2015 to underline his commitment to the sport.

Xi plans to turn China into a "great sports nation", creating an industry worth RMB5tn ($760bn, £612bn) by 2025, up from RMB400bn in 2016, and expanding the number of schools offering specialised football training from 5,000 to 50,000.

Glick said: "We support this move. The more people you have tuning into the game when they are young, the more they will stay with the game."

The Chinese government's stance is also supported by some of the country's best-known tycoons including Jack Ma of online shopping mall giant Alibaba and Wang Jianlin who heads the property-to-finance conglomerate Wanda.

They have benefited from the country's boom and where the links between government and private enterprise are very close. These firms have either set up sports divisions or are helping to fund either grass roots or top level football projects.

Also, private equity firm China Media Capital paid £265m to City Football Group, which owns New York FC, in December 2015.