The global economic meltdown has affected the preparations for the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, with a number of sponsors backing out, the mayor of the capital of Guangdong province said yesterday.
"No one can avoid the impact of the financial crisis, which has had an affect on the preparations for the upcoming Games," Mayor Zhang Guangning, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), told China Daily.
The Asian Games' organizing committee is facing "some difficulties developing stadiums, and finding sponsors, Zhang said, without elaborating further.
Fang Da'er, director of the market development department of the Asian Games' organizing committee, said preparations for the massive sporting event, especially finding sponsorship partners, had been affected by the financial crisis.
The organizing committee has so far collected about 2 billion yuan ($292 million), or two-thirds of the total for the Games, from sponsorship companies, Fang said.
"Most of the investment for the Games will come from market development. But what if we can't collect the funds in case our potential sponsors' businesses fail in the crisis? It is a matter of great concern to us," Fang said.
As of now, 23 companies have signed sponsorship agreements with the organizing committee, Fang said, adding 17 more were expected to sign soon.
Four export-oriented companies based in the Pearl River Delta region, where a rising number of factories have closed down since last year, have backed out, Fang said.
"Talks with these companies, which lasted for a year, failed recently since their business in the overseas market dropped greatly," Fang said.
"We are even thinking of lowering the sponsorship threshold for the Games," Fang said.
According to the organizing committee, every non-exclusive sponsor must invest at least 10 million yuan for the Games.
"There is, however, one thing that's keeping our spirits high. A rising number of foreign companies have expressed their intentions to sponsor the Games, since they want to promote their brands and enter the Chinese market," Fang said.
Mayor Zhang also said Guangzhou will team up with neighboring cities like Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan and Shenzhen to establish a coordinative office, which will ensure air quality during the 16th Asiad.
Neighboring cities of Foshan and Shanwei will co-host the 16th Asian Games, which is slated for November 12 to 27, next year.