Chinese football clubs spending big

By Motez Bishara, CNN

Updated 1048 GMT (1848 HKT) December 23, 2016
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Oscar signed for Chelsea in 2012, scoring 38 goals in 203 appearances. At Shanghai SIPG, he'll be earning a reported $491,000 a week. Paul Gilham/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
No wonder the fans are celebrating. It might not be seen as a traditional football superpower, but Chinese clubs have splashed out millions of dollars on some of the world's top players -- and not just for Oscar... Kevin Frayer/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
Brazilian striker Hulk moved from Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg to Shanghai SIPG for a reported fee of $61 million. Here he celebrates bagging a goal against Henan Jianye, only to be carried off injured minutes later. STR/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
In the wake of heavy spending throughout the transfer window, Jiangsu Suning FC agreed a landmark deal for Brazilian trickster, Alex Teixeira. The former Shakhtar Donetsk man cost just shy of $56 million.
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In February, Chinese football club Guangzhou Evergrande paid $45.8 million to sign Atletico Madrid striker Jackson Martinez. Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
A former club-mate and compatriot of Oscar, Ramires was signed by Jiangsu Suning of the China Super League from Chelsea on January 27, 2016 for a reported initial fee of nearly $28 million. Paul Gilham/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Corinthians playmaker Renato Augusto reportedly turned down a lucrative offer from a German club to join Beijing Guoan. "There was a very good offer from Germany, three times more than I make here at Corinthians," Renato was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post. "But then came an offer I couldn't refuse." NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Darko Matic (R) has had a lot to celebrate since moving to China nearly 10 years ago. He's now plays for Changchun Yatai Matic, has learned Mandarin and is considering remaining in the country after his career ends. Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
Former Arsenal and Roma winger Gervinho (seen playing for Ivory Coast) completed a transfer of nearly $20 million to Hebei China Fortune in the China Super League. AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Colombian Fredy Guarin (right) was moved by Inter Milan to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua for a reported fee of $14 million in January 2016. Getty Images
Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson (R) attending a training session of his previous team Shanghai SIPG. Eriksson signed former Sunderland and Al-Ain striker Asamoah Gyan last year, and moved to Chinese League One side Shenzen FC earlier this year. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Former Brazil and Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari -- now head coach of Asian Champions League winners FC Guangzhou Evergrande -- reacts during the international friendly match against Bayern Munich on July 23, 2015. Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images
Erik Paartalu (#6 with former team Brisbane Roar) lasted one year in the Chinese Super League with Tianjin Teda F.C. -- an experience he called "one of the most challenging times in my life, but also one of the most rewarding." Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
Former NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury has found a welcoming home in China, where he has remained since 2010. He is pictured celebrating after his team, the Beijing Ducks, won their first-ever Chinese championship behind his 41 points in March, 2012. AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Alibaba founder Jack Ma purchased a 50% stake in FC Guangzhou Evergrande earlier this year, representing a new wave of businessman investors in Chinese soccer. Peter Parks/AFP/Getty/File
Didier Drogba (far left) and Nicolas Anelka (second from right) attending a training session in Shanghai. Their spells in China didn't last long though and the pair exited in 2013. Getty Images
Shanghai Shenhua fans reacted with fervor after Drogba arrived at Pudong international airport in Shanghai on July 14, 2012. Though Drogba was reportedly signed on a £200,000 per week salary, he left China only six months later. PETER PARKS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
An Ultra supporter of Beijing Guoan shows a tattoo of the team's badge during a match against Chongcing Lifan. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
There are growing legions of ardent supporters and fans of Chinese football clubs. The government is also trying to foster a football culture in the country by mandating football programs in 20,000 Chinese schools in a plan devised by President Xi Jinping to make China a football power. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
This photo taken on June 20, 2015 shows fans (foreground) wearing the colors of the Beijing Guoan team as they watch the team's Chinese Super League match against Tianjin Teda in Beijing. GREG BAKER/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Chinese football's top tier is now the most watched league in Asia, and in a strictly controlled society matches offer the rare sight of tens of thousands of people in spontaneous displays of emotion, joy and anger. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images