Shuyang Liu, PhD researcher

Shuyang, from China, is a PhD student at Loughborough University London studying under the Institute for Sport Business. Prior to her Master's and PhD studies in London, Ruth graduated from the University of Birmingham.

What country are you from?


Under which institute are you studying your PhD?

Institute for Sport Business

What is the full title of your PhD?

Exploration of Sustainable Business Models in the Chinese Football Industry.

Please give a brief synopsis of what you are researching and why.

My research combines the study of sport and business together and focuses on the football industry of China. As the Chinese football market is an emerging market with a huge capital injection, I am viewing this industry from business perspectives to explore a business model(s) that can fit in China’s football industry.

China’s football clubs and organisations are seeking fast growth by investing a great deal of money, which is called the ‘Money Ball’; within the sport. Currently, their enormous spending cannot be covered by the revenues they gain so most ‘Money Ball’ clubs and investors are suffering significant losses. It is not a healthy situation for long-term development, thus a profitable and sustainable business model should be explored to build longevity of football entities and the whole industry in China.

Who are your academic supervisors?

Professor James Skinner and Dr Anna Grosman.

Why did you choose Loughborough University London to undertake your PhD?

Loughborough has world-wide reputation for its excellence in sport and being in London provides even broader opportunities for both academic and career development. The Institute of Sport Business here also suits my research interests which emphasises the collaboration of sport and business.

Tell us about your academic background.

  • BSc Accounting and Finance from University of Birmingham
  • MSc Sport Business and Innovation from Loughborough University London

What attracted you to your chosen research field?

From my academic background, I have overlap knowledge of both business and sport so I am very interested in applying business concepts and theories into the sporting industry. The rapid growing football market in China gives me a perfect opportunity and subject to study, as football is one of my top personal interests.

What research have you completed so far?

I am in my first year so my current study has revolved around my literature review so far. Currently I am focusing on the grounding theories of business models and ecosystems.

Describe a day in the life of a PhD student.

In the morning I will check my emails, read the news and set my study plan for the day at my flat before I get to the campus. If it is Thursday, we will have our regular weekly seminar so I will attend the seminar at noon. Then a quick break for lunch and chat with other PhD students. Normally I will spend whole afternoon at campus, reading journals, making notes and writing reviews. I probably finish my work at 6.00pm pm but sometimes I will stay longer if I haven’t finish the day's plan.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Hang out with friends, watching sports games and travelling. 

How would you describe the research community on campus?

It's a Very warm and hard-working community.

What advice would you give to prospective PhD students looking to study at Loughborough University London?

First of all, choose the research field that really interests you because you will be doing it for next a couple of years. Secondly, make full use of your current Master's courses as they will give you understandings and guides on what you might want to do for your PhD. Thirdly, keep in touch with academic staff here (your lecturers and supervisors) to discuss your ideas with them and I am sure that they are all very helpful. Finally, although it is never too late to apply for PhD, get it done as soon as possible once you have decided.