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Winter Olympics offer stage for self-promotion

Updated: 2015-03-25 07:46
By Guan Qingyou (China Daily)

Promoting its national image is an important aspect of a country's diplomacy, and sports have long been a part of the effort. Having wowed the world with the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, China is now looking to repeat that success by hosting the Winter Olympics; Beijing and Zhangjiakou city in Hebei province having submitted a joint bid to host the 2022 event.

As one of the most influential sporting events globally, the Winter Olympics is always a treasured opportunity for the host nation to polish its national image. Hosting the Winter Olympics not only brings business gains, but also displays the host country's comprehensive capabilities to the world.

According to data from the International Olympic Committee, the 2014 session in Sochi, Russia, not only welcomed over 5,000 competitors, it also attracted a record-breaking worldwide audience. More than 460 TV channels broadcast the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The Beijing-Zhangjiakou Winter Olympics in 2022, if the two cities win the bid, will seek to emulate this success.

Hosting the games would also provide a welcome boost for China's sports and service industries. Last October, the State Council vowed to make the sports industry and related areas new economic growth drivers in China. The overall size of the sector in China was 950 billion yuan ($158 billion) in 2012. The State Council's guideline said the figure is projected to reach 5 trillion yuan by 2025, and its contribution rate to national economic growth will rise from current 0.5 percent to 1.3 percent. This is an achievable target. In developed countries the sports industry's contribution rate is about 1 to 3 percent.

Another positive influence of winning the Winter Olympics is the stimulus it would provide for the integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, which is a key development strategy of the nation. Both the central leadership and authorities of Beijing and Hebei have expressed their firm support for the two cities' bid. Winning the bid would be an excellent opportunity for leading officials of the region to work together.

For Hebei province, its infrastructure and green industries could be improved, which in turn would help it overcome its reliance on heavy industries, such as steel manufacturing. For Zhangjiakou city especially, hosting the Winter Olympics would do far more than just boost tourism, it would give additional impetus to the local authorities' efforts to build an ecological, smart and energy-saving city that connects Beijing and neighboring regions.

It should also be noted that the Winter Olympics will also force relevant departments to curb the rampant air pollution in Beijing and nearby regions. Whenever smoggy weather comes, the environmental protection agencies complain that they lack enough authorization to shut down the polluting plants in the region. Higher authorities would be able to use the Winter Olympics to mobilize more resources and grant the environmental watchdogs more teeth in the fight against air pollution.

The author is executive director of Minsheng Securities Institute.

 

 

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