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Rio 2016 games welcome Chinese companies

Updated: 2014-12-01 04:37
By JI YE in Rio de Janeiro (China Daily Latin America)

Rio 2016 games welcome Chinese companies

The mascots of Rio 2016 Olympic Games (left) and Paralympic Games unveiled on Nov 24 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, originated from animals and plants in Brazil. A poll will decide their names. Xu Zijian / Xinhua

Two of the world's largest scale and most multifaceted events — the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games — are coming to Rio de Janeiro in less than two years.

Rio 2016 procurement director Fernando Cotrim is responsible for developing the organizing committee's supply chain. The mission includes ensuring that 30 million items are available, from ballpoint pens to sports equipment, furniture, horse food and even ships, a variety of articles unparalleled in scale. The operation includes more than 60 thousand square meters of storage space – divided between the Barra, Deodoro and Maracana zones – and more than 1,000 outsourced professionals.

Cotrim faces the greatest challenge of his career and is welcoming cooperation from Chinese companies.

The official mascots of the games — a bright yellow cat-like character for the Olympics and a mop-headed doll for the Paralympics — were unveiled on Nov 24. A company from China is the licensed manufacturer and vendor for both mascots, as well as the official pins for the games.

Last month, a Chinese sports apparel maker became the official uniform supplier for the games, agreeing to provide more than 106,500 uniforms to technical staff, volunteers, test event personnel and torch relay participants.

"Two Chinese companies have been included in the supply chain for the games. One is 361 Degrees for the uniforms and the other is Honav for the production and sales of pins and mascots," Cotrim told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

"As far as I know, in other bidding process like furniture, there are also Chinese companies eager to be part of the supply chain," he added.

Cotrim said that about 80 percent of the supply chain would be negotiated in 2014 and 2015.

"We'll establish product and service catalogues and we'll do the last-minute adjustments to our logistics before it becomes operational. Between 2015 and 2016, we'll focus our efforts on managing supplier contracts as well as the logistics chain to ensure that everything goes according to plan," he said.

As China hosted the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games, many Chinese companies with Olympic experience are keen to take part in the Rio games.

Cotrim said he hoped that after experiencing the Beijing Olympics, Chinese companies could understand the bidding process of the Rio games supply chain and become actively involved.

In 2013, Rio's supply chain team made a special trip to China to discuss the procurement schedule of all materials and services needed. In addition, according to the Chinese Embassy in Brazil, some Chinese companies also came to Rio looking for deals during the preparation stage.

Cotrim said the games would be a boon to Chinese companies exploring overseas markets.

"I heard that 361 Degrees is going to enter the Brazilian market through the promotion of the Rio Olympic Games," Cotrim said. "I believe their brand will prosper not only in Brazil, but in the whole of Latin America."

Cotrim said that some Chinese companies have chosen to join the supply chain by cooperating with their European and American counterparts. He suggested that Chinese companies that want to participate should not only study the legal and tax environment, but also understand the operational mechanisms of the local market.

"Only if you have an in-depth understanding of the local market and know how the market runs, can you effectively avoid the risks and reap the benefits," said Cotrim.

The cartoon-like mascots and the official uniform are also big business.

Organizers hope that Olympic merchandise, much of it carrying the mascot logo, will generate sales of 1 billion reals ($400 million). The organizing committee will receive about 15-20 percent of the sales of branded merchandise, with the rest going to licensed manufacturers and vendors.

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