BEIJING -- The National Basketball Association and a Chinese partner say they plan to open a basketball centre near Beijing.
The partners say the facility in Tianjin, a port city east of the Chinese capital, will include NBA-style basketball courts, a fitness centre, a restaurant and other features, according to NBA China and the Yatai Lanhai Investment Group.
The announcement was made as the NBA teams the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers played exhibition games in Beijing and Shanghai.
Basketball in China is hugely popular and the NBA has made faster progress in developing a fan base and business opportunities than other American sports such as baseball, football and ice hockey.
The 12,000-square-meter (120,000-square-foot) NBA Center is to become part of a mixed-use development by Yatai Lanhai with housing for 150,000.