Olympics boost prospects for sports industry

By WANG ZHUOQIONG | China Daily | Updated: 2022-03-22 08:11
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Ropeways operate at the Genting Resort Secret Garden in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, during the Beijing Winter Olympics. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

Editor's Note: In a series of reports titled "Legacies of the Games", China Daily explores changes brought to the country by the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. This is the fourth part of the series.

A company that has made ice and snow sports equipment for 71 years-one of the first of its kind in China-saw record revenue growth last month and in January.

The number of orders received by Heilong International Ice and Snow Equipment Co, headquartered in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang province, rose by 60 per cent compared with the same time last year.

Ju Peihong, the company's CEO, said new orders for skates and snowboards continued to arrive from sports bureaus, schools and other institutions, in stark contrast to the start of previous years, when sales have often been poor.

"The success of the Beijing Winter Olympics has inspired the passion for ice and snow sports among Chinese people," he said. "This will boost public participation in such sports in the future."

Ju said the company expects to see sales growth this year of at least 35 percent. Last year, its revenue grew by 50 million yuan ($7.8 million), a 25 percent year-on-year rise.

The development of high-end products is top of the company's agenda. Since last year, the privately owned sports equipment producer, in collaboration with educational institutions including Beijing Science and Technology University and Beijing Sport University, has invested more than 10 million yuan on blades made from high-tech materials.

This collaboration, funded partly by the government, involves working on challenges such as making lightweight steel for blades resistant to friction.

The company, which exports to four countries, plans to sell its mid-market and high-end products to more overseas destinations.

It is just one example of the domestic winter sports equipment manufacturers to benefit from the Games in Beijing.

Wu Bin, an expert in the winter sports industry and CEO of Beijing Xuebang Xueye Management Co, said the skiing industry will continue to witness strong growth in the wake of the Winter Olympics, propelled by favorable policies. The younger generation and a more prosperous industry will result in 57 million skier visits in China in 2030, compared with 20.76 million in 2020.

After some two decades of development, the domestic skiing industry-comprising resorts, equipment manufacturers, venue and facility providers, and property developers-is in an early stage of development, Wu said. Imports have provided much of the related clothing and equipment.

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