Olympics to add oomph to Beijing economy
By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-17 05:39
As Beijing counts down to the 2008 Games, some people in the host city may
well be counting the money.
The Games will help the capital register sizzling economic growth and create
hundreds of thousands of jobs, the city's leading statisticians said yesterday.
Because of the "Olympic factor," Beijing can expect its gross domestic
product (GDP), after stripping out inflation, to grow at 9.8 per cent a year
leading to 2008, 0.8 percentage point higher than the average growth between
2001 and 2005, Wei Xiaozhen, a division director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau
of Statistics, said yesterday.
A cumulative 1.82 million jobs will be created between 2004 and 2008 thanks
to the Games, Wei and her colleague Yan Ping concluded in the city's 2006
economic development report published on Sunday.
The "Olympic factor" refers to the impetus generated by 134.86 billion yuan
(US$16.65 billion) in direct investment for hosting the Games, Wei said.
Based on projects listed in the Games' action plan, 79 per cent of the funds
will be channelled into post and telecommunications, infrastructure facilities
and improvement of the living environment, the report says.
The funding will give a shot in the arm to at least 50 industrial and
business segments related to the Games, it says.
"Beijing's preparations for the Olympic Games also mean tremendous
opportunities for foreign investors, who could become part of the growth story
through bidding or supplying accessory products and services," Wei told China
Based on analyses of former Olympic host cities such as Seoul and Sydney, as
well as ground realities in Beijing, Wei's research team estimates the "Olympic
factor" will add 5.45 billion yuan (US$673 million) to the city's finance and
insurance sector in five years from 2004, and 17.28 billion yuan (US$2.13
billion) to the construction industry.
The two sectors, along with retail and wholesale, real estate, computer
services and software, communications and computer equipment manufacturing, will
further cement their roles as Beijing's pillar industries in the years ahead,
according to the report.
Construction of Olympic venues and related facilities will translate into
430,000 extra jobs in the sector in five years, the report says.
But employment will shrink significantly when construction of projects draws
to an end, it adds.
Other top employers benefiting from, and bolstered by the "Olympic factor"
are wholesale and retail, equipment and instrument manufacturers, and light and
textile industries, the book says.
For tourism, 2008 will be also a bonanza year.
The report predicts that at least 2 million more people will visit Beijing in
the year, Wei said.
"In addition to the normal increase of the number of tourists, the Games will
bring an extra 2 million people to Beijing during, before or after the Games
including 300,000 from outside the mainland," Wei said.
Each overseas visitor is expected to spend US$1,050, while expenditure of
domestic travellers will average 1,200 yuan (US$148) per person, generating a
combined revenue of nearly 7.7 billion yuan (US$950.1 million), the report says.
The number of visits to Beijing increased from 95.12 million in 1999 to
123.15 million in 2004, according to official statistics.
The report does not project the total number of visitors Beijing will receive
in 2008, neither does it attempt to predict how much profits the Games will
(China Daily 01/17/2006 page1)