The Wuxi Classic will become a world ranking event for the first time next season, thanks to a new five-year agreement.

 

The tournament will run from June 25 to July 1 and will be the first ranking event of the 2012/13 season. It has been a regular fixture on the calendar since 2008, initially as an invitation tournament, and has now been given full ranking status. It will be one of five ranking events in China next season.

 

Total prize money for the event this year will be £400,000, rising to £425,000 next year then £450,000 for the following three years.

 

Wuxi, located in the Jiangsu Province, is known as one of the most beautiful cities in China and is the home town of the country's top player Ding Junhui. The city has a purpose-built stadium for snooker tournaments.

 

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "We are delighted to welcome the Wuxi Classic to our family of world ranking events in China. This is a wonderful example of an invitation event attended by the top players, opening the door for a full ranking event.

 

"We have built an excellent relationship with the CBSA and that has been fundamental to our success. China is a rapidly expanding market and we are going where the demand is because this game belongs to the world. There were five Chinese in the World Championship this year and there are many more waiting in the wings."

 

The qualifying rounds of the tournament will run from June 5 to 8 at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield.