The new Team Dongfeng, backed by automaker Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle and run by international events and marketing firm OC Sport, will set sail with the rest of the fleet from Alicante in the 2014-15 race.
It also marks the third entry for China in the round-the-world yachting challenge, following the Discover Ireland-backed Team Sanya in the last edition of the VOR that concluded in Galway in exciting fashion, and the joint Chinese-Irish entry Green Dragon in the 2008-09 race.
Headed by team director and VOR veteran Bruno Dubois, Team Dongfeng is expected to be more than just a nominal Chinese entry, with plans for a significant number of Chinese sailors among its final race crew.
They will follow in the wake of Chinese sailing pioneers Guo Chuan, who crewed Green Dragon in 2008-09, and Team Sanya's 'Tiger' Teng Jianghe in last year's race - not to mention success for Chinese sailing at the London Olympics with gold in the women's Laser Radial for sailor of the year Xu Lijia, despite Ireland's own Annalise Murphy's stellar performance in the buildup to the medal race.
“Our priority is the recruitment and training of the Chinese sailors," said Dubois. "This is very clearly the biggest challenge we have – to condense many years of experience of the average Volvo Ocean Race crew into just 10 months.
“But equally this process is at the heart of the project, we want to leave a real legacy that will both motivate the Chinese to want to embrace the sport of sailing, and be able to develop the talent so that, ultimately, a future campaign could be 100% Chinese.”
Team Dongfeng will surely receive a warm welcome when the fleet visits the Chinese port of Sanya, returning as a stopover in the 2014-15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race after its debut on the calendar in the last running.