Schalke are set to travel to China for a third consecutive summer as they begin preparations for their return to the UEFA Champions League in 2018/19.

This year the Royal Blues will be spending time in Shanghai and the capital Beijing as they look to extend their reach into the Chinese market.

Domenico Tedesco’s side will play two friendlies during their 10-day tour to the world’s most populous nation. First up they face English Premier League side Southampton on 5 July in Kunshan, just outside of Shanghai, before they meet local club Hebei China Fortune on 11 July in Langfang, near Beijing.

Watch: Highlights of Schalke's win over Besiktas on their last visit to China

“Awareness of Schalke is growing in China. The country is one of our most important target markets where we’re looking for long-term expansion,” said head of marketing Alexander Jobst.

“We want to be there to consolidate the Schalke name among the population, deepen ties and excite people for Schalke.”

Those ties include a new partnership between the Gelsenkirchen club and Hebei China Fortune, with the fixture between the sides symbolising the start of their official cooperation, where Schalke will support the development of Hebei’s youth sector, provide coaches and scouts with the aim of Chinese youth products being developed in the mould of those in the Bundesliga.

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