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Chinese skiers bring boon to Austrian companies

By Liu Zheng and He Yini | | Updated: 2013-04-01 17:46

Millions of people in China are now getting into the growing craze of new stylish winter sports - skiing, an ideal getaway that offers breathtakingly exciting experiences and brings one closer to nature.

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In the past few years, China has built a number of ski resorts to sate the appetite of surging winter sports enthusiasts, with technologies mostly underpinned by Austrian companies, as they are now making inroads into China, hoping to grab a piece of the growing pie.

Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, an Austrian conglomerate that leads the way for ropeway engineering technology, has secured a few more new projects in China, including constructing a ropeway for the Badaling Great Wall. The company has kept an impressive record of zero accidents in its past 65 projects in the country.

Doppelmayr is not the only Austrian company that's poised to cash in on the booming skiing market in China. During the Austrian Showcase Winter Sport held on Feb 27, companies, including AST Eis und Solartechnik and Wintersteiger, presented their expertise in developing cable cars, ice technology, winter wear, and services solutions.

Austria's exports to China, its second export market worldwide and largest trading partner in Asia, hit 2.9 billion euros ($3.73 billion) in 2011, an increase of 4 percent from a year earlier. The number grew 5.3 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2012. The country has invested $1.2 billion in China with more than 1,000 projects.

Skiing has been a long tradition in Austria, which was one of the first countries to develop alpine ski resorts and bring forward fundamental technologies related to winter sports. Today, about half of skiing outfitters sold worldwide are made in Austria, and 6 percent of the country's economy is linked to winter sports tourism.

The country has been initiating the Austrian Charity Ski Race since 2010, an annual event to raise money for the Little Flower Project in an effort to take care of orphans in China. The event collected 170,000 yuan ($27,350) for the organization last year.

This year, the event, which was sponsored by AME International, was held at the Genting Grand Hotel in Hebei province on March 2. It was said to be one of the largest ski races in China.

According to Advantage Austria, the host of the event, funds raised will be donated to the organization in May.

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