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China's AFL link was established when the Melbourne Demons introduced its China Strategy designed to increase links with the Chinese community in Melbourne and promote interest in the game abroad in 2007. Footy caught on rapidly in schools and universities, and the Chinese national team, the China Red Demons competed in their first International Cup in 2008.

In October 2010, the partnership with the Melbourne Demonds continued when an exhibition match between Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions played out at the Jiangwan Sports Centre in Shanghai. In 2011, through a collaboration between the AFL, the City of Melbourne and Melbourne Football Club, the city of Tianjin launched the country's first purpose-built Australian football ground.

After finishing fifteenth in the 2008 International Cup, the China Red Demons went into IC11 looking to improve as one of the more developing nations learning the game of Australian football. They were winless in 2008 but turned that around in 2011 with two hard-fought victories against India and Timor-Leste.

In 2012 AFL held the athlete academy project in Guangzhou, South China. Chen Shao Liang was chosen to join the 2012 AFL Draft. In 2013 Guangzhou Scorpions organized by ZhangHao turned into one Chinese local Team joining the SCAFL(South China AFL), The inaugural GDAFL (GDAFL) announced, there are four teams join the first season game, it is Guangzhou Scorpions, Guangzhou Sports University Seagulls, Dongguan Leopard and Huizhou Hawks. Team China got the support from Port Adelaide Football Club, they helped Team China to come to the IC14 again.

In 2015, Port Adelaide launched their China project, it began to show their ambition in China. They began to sponsor SCAFL and GDAFL to help to develop local players and in 2016 the inaugural AFL Greater China Cup was held in Guangzhou.