Emma Raducanu has made her intentions to be a truly global star clear after her newly-launched Weibo account picked up thousands of followers in just a few hours. The US Open champion speaks fluent Mandarin having grown up speaking the language with her mother Renee, who is from Shenyang in north-eastern China. Raducanu recorded an initial message in Chinese for the US Open’s own press channels earlier this week, but has now released one of her own. In it, Raducanu thanked her fans and said she regretted not being able to play in China in 2021; the WTA’s autumn swing would ordinarily take players to Zhengzhou, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing and Hong Kong, but Covid concerns have seen that entire portion of the season cancelled. The WTA Finals in Shenzhen have been relocated to Guadalajara in Mexico. “It’s a pity that I can’t go to China this year but will go and play next year,” she said in the first post on her verified Weibo account. The video, posted with a message in Chinese saying “hello everyone! I’m Emma, I have Weibo, thank you for your support”, had already attracted more than 10,000 likes while more than 12,000 users followed her account in the first eight hours of its life. Other microblogging sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, where Raducanu has 1.9 million followers are blocked in China, while Weibo claims to have more than 80 million users and is almost exclusively used by Chinese speakers. Before she had even created an account on Weibo, Raducanu trended several times because of her family links to China and hashtags relating to her name had already been viewed 200 million times . It is numbers like those that have seen Raducanu’s commercial pulling power estimated by industry experts in the hundreds millions of pounds, her ability to connect with Chinese markets only strengthening that prediction. Dr Lingling Liu, managing director of China Sport Business Consulting in Beijing, told i this week: “Tennis is a very popular sport, and as a female with a multicultural background that ticks a lot of boxes, she could be very successful commercially. “People are talking about her mother’s side, her language capabilities and the possibilities of whether she will be naturalised by the Chinese.” Analysis: China is a double-edged sword Raducanu was always well-placed to capitalise on her new-found fame, having been welcomed into the enormous and far-reaching IMG talent management family before she had even won the US Open title. IMG’s Chris Helliar was in her box for the US Open run and further up the chain, the legendary Max Eisenbud is managing her affairs. It was Eisenbud who negotiated more than £20m of off-court earnings for Maria Sharapova, a testament to his business acumen and big-deal power, and he also worked with China’s first ever grand slam winner Li Na, proof he knows and understands the Chinese market as well as anyone. The country has greeted Raducanu’s success with open arms, with one state media outlet even calling her “the Chinese girl from Britain” and plenty writing about how she showed many values espoused by the ruling party. So far, it is the land of milk and honey. But courting favour with Chinese fans – and the inevitable governmental attention that goes with it – will draw plenty of negative reactions too. The country is regularly criticised for its repression of democracy in Hong Kong, its increasing military pressure on the island of Taiwan, and its treatment of Uighur Muslims. If Raducanu returns to China next year, she will be the subject of intense scrutiny both by the media but also by the Chinese Communist Party, who will no doubt see her presence as an international PR opportunity, an association that may upset Western fans and sponsors. Meanwhile, taking a stand against the actions of the Chinese regime comes fraught with danger too. The NBA, which derives a huge chunk of its revenue from Chinese operations, was hit by a year-long blackout in China after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey asked his Twitter followers to “stand with Hong Kong”. One cannot imagine that Raducanu’s Weibo account, which has gained a couple hundred more followers since you started reading this, would survive if she decided to make a similarly political stance. And silence can be damaging too. LeBron James stood up to Morey, calling him “misinformed” over the Hong Kong protests, where they subsequently burned his jersey in public. He has become a lightning rod for the anti-Chinese sentiment in the US. Raducanu is currently the darling of the globe, and long may it continue. But you cannot straddle the continents without becoming embroiled in geopolitics. It is unavoidable. Follow i sport on Facebook for more tennis news, interviews and features, or listen to the Love Tennis Podcast presented by i‘s James Gray on iTunes , Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts