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Winter Olympics to broaden China's economy growth pattern, improve Sino-Austria trade

By Zhu Lingqing | | Updated: 2017-02-22 17:56

Winter Olympics to broaden China's economy growth pattern, improve Sino-Austria trade

A contestant is racing at the 8th Advantage Austria Ski Race held in Zhangjiakou's Genting Resort Secret Garden, Hebei province, on Feb 18, 2017. [Photo provided to]

After being held in China for eight years, the Advantage Austria Ski Race for the first time was won by a Chinese racer on Saturday at Zhangjiakou's Genting Secret Garden Resort, Hebei province, with Liu Ji crossing the finish line in 51.75 seconds, ahead of an Austrian racer.

The race, which is regarded as a networking platform for the Austrian-Chinese winter sports community, attracted 110 racers from China and all over the world.

"Actually, now we have more Chinese participants than Austrians, which is fantastic," said Martin Glatz, head of Advantage Austria Beijing and commercial counselor at the Austrian embassy. He said it reflected the growth of winter sports in China.

Since Beijing and its neighboring city, Zhangjiakou, won the right in 2015 to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, China has been promoting its national campaign to encourage 300 million people to participate in winter sports.

In November, the General Administration of Sport of China released plans to construct winter sports infrastructure and popularize winter sports, calling for at least 650 skating rinks and 800 ski resorts to be built across the country by 2022 and the winter sports industry to be valued at 1 trillion yuan ($144.5 billion) by 2025.

Zhan Weiping, vice chairman of the Austria-China Friendship Association, told China Daily website that the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics could bring more business opportunities to Austrian companies.

Austria, having a long tradition of winter sports, was one of the first countries to develop ski resorts, technologies related to winter sports and a winter sports industry. Zhan said more Austrian winter sports companies are now very interested in China's market.

"Some of them have already entrusted me to bring their projects to China. They are looking forward to working with Chinese investors and distributors and considering establishing factories in China," Zhan said.

He believes Austria and China can take advantage of each other's strengths as Austrian companies can bring technology, brands and management models and their Chinese partners can offer capital, place and local support.

For those Austrian companies already in China's market, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics can also be regarded as a boost.

Austrian company AST, a supplier of ice skating rinks, has been operating for 12 years in the Chinese market. Zhong Shuai, general manager of AST China, said the company was involved in the building and operation of more than 50 percent of the ice skating rinks in China by 2015.

"The winter sports industry needs long-term investment. And the return of investment is related to the market scale," he said the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics could boost a healthy development of winter sports industry in China.

More information on China's winter sports market and Austrian winter sports companies' development in China can be found in China Daily website's interview with Martin Glatz. The following are edited excerpts of the interview:

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