JLR signs David Beckham in China drive

Henry Foy
David Beckham attends Chinese football charitable donation ceremony at Soong Ching Ling's Former Residence in Beijing, China.
Lintao Zhang | Getty Images

Jaguar Land Rover is pretty big in China. But not as big as David Beckham.

The British luxury carmaker has signed up the former England football captain as a brand ambassador for its Jaguar brand as it looks to sustain breakneck sales growth in the world's biggest car market.

China overtook the UK to become the carmaker's leading market last year, as JLR increased its presence in the country to catch up with rivals BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, the most popular premium car brands among the country's newly minted rich.

(Read more: Jaguar Land Rover unveils UK investment plans)

"It's an honour to support a brand with such an amazing heritage, and I look forward to being part of Jaguar's exciting future in China," Mr Beckham said.

The tie-up is part of JLR's wider push to cement its position in the major league of global premium carmakers – a segment dominated by German brands.

JLR has seen its sales more than double in the five years since it was acquired by India's Tata Motors, mainly owing to growth in emerging markets.

Jaguar Land Rover committed to UK: CEO

The company, which runs British factories around the clock to meet demand, will open a factory in China, its first outside the UK, this year.

(Read more: Auto CEOs: 2014 will not be an easy year)

Mr Beckham has seen his business boom in similar fashion since he hung up his boots last year.

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The former Manchester United and Real Madrid player who won 10 league titles in his 21-year career, has endorsement deals worth tens of millions of dollars with companies such as Adidas, Samsung and Breitling. He is also an ambassador for a Chinese football league.

Mr Beckham, who will feature on billboards across China for Jaguar, in addition to television adverts, will begin his work with the carmaker advertising its new F-Type Coupé, joining Chelsea Football Club manager José Mourinho as an ambassador for the car.