A Crowdfunding First for Chinese Athletes

FringeBacker, an English-Chinese bilingual crowdfunding platform, has announced that China’s National Equestrian Championship Gold-Medalist, and Hong Kong international, 22-year-old Jacqueline Lai today successfully completed one of China’s largest crowdfunding campaigns to date.

Fringebacker Crowdfunding Jacqueline Lai

Working from her stables in Denmark, Lai’s global fundraising campaign on FringeBacker began in January 2013 in
both English and Chinese. The campaign raised US$41,000 by the time it finished yesterday. Although a relatively modest amount compared to the multi-million-dollar crowdfunding successes through U.S. platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Lai’s historical achievement on FringeBacker looks set to change the way that the Chinese public participate in online crowdfunding as well as the way that international athletes approach their funding goals.

Launched 6 months ago, FringeBacker features “all-or-nothing” refund assurance for funders of creative, cultural, innovative and sports projects. FringeBacker’s bilingual presentation and interface facilitates crowdfunding to crossover to the financial strength among the Chinese public. FringeBacker is a Network Partner of the UNESCO Arts in Education Observatory in Hong Kong.

“FringeBacker’s crowdfunding campaigns reach both Chinese- and English-language funders at the same time, therefore transcending cultures and national boundaries. Jacqueline Lai’s success shows that crowdfunding can successfully secure funding from financially strong Chinese funders, just as it already does in the United States. It also opens up a new channel for international athletes to obtain funding while inviting supporters to participate in their journeys,” said FringeBacker’s Executive Director Maryann Hwee. “We’re delighted to have reached this landmark after only half a year of operation. We trust that we’ve laid a good foundation for growth in the Chinese and international markets in the months ahead, to support creativity, culture and innovation.”

After a devastating accident in 2011, when Lai’s horse fell and crushed her pelvis, she underwent surgery and 21 months of recovery, missing out on competing in the 2012 London Olympics. Now, Lai is back on the international equestrian competition circuit, with 13 screws holding her pelvis together. She decided to engage more people to join her in participating in equestrian sports, gathering crowdfunding support from Chinese and international communities through FringeBacker. Lai represents Hong Kong in her journey towards the 2013 Chinese National
Games in Dalian, the 2014 World Equestrian Championships in Normandy and the 2014 Asian Games in Korea.

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