Feature: China's Olympic legacy enlivens global winter sports industry

Updated: September 6, 2022 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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BEIJING, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- At the just-concluded 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, experts discussed the "Chinese approach" for the sustainable and healthy development of the winter sports industry, focusing on the legacy of the Winter Olympics and the development of the ice and snow industry.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has praised Beijing 2022 for starting a new era of global ice and snow sports, in which more than 300 million Chinese people have engaged in winter sports.


It is a challenge for Yanqing, one of the Beijing 2022 venues, to make good use of the legacy left after the World Horticultural Exhibition and the Winter Olympics. Ren Jianghao, deputy head of Beijing's Yanqing district, said that the heritage of the Winter Olympics has to be lasting.

"There are three methods. First, we have the experience of hosting Winter Olympics, so we will introduce some high-end tournaments to Yanqing. Second, we propose to build Yanqing into an outdoor sports city, not only for winter sports. Third, we have a sports industrial park in Yanqing Park, which has attracted a large number of winter sports technology firms. The local government has also issued perferential policies toward related enterprises."

Since Beijing won the bid for the Winter Olympics, co-host Zhangjiakou has continued to transform these "cold" resources into a "hot" winter sports economy.

Zhangjiakou has built nine ski resorts, 59 sports training bases, 100 winter sports schools and successfully hosted more than 100 high-level events such as Freestyle Skiing, Snowboarding and Slopestyle Chase World Cups. Besides, 115 industrial projects, including France MND, have been launched. After the Winter Olympics, the world-class venue facilities, management and operation teams and the manufacturing chain of winter sports have become the "bonanza".

"We will devote ourselves to the comprehensive utilization of venues and ancillary facilities to boost the post-Olympic economy. We will implement the plan for sustainable use of the legacy of the Winter Olympics, continue to host various international and domestic events," Liu Haifeng, the deputy mayor of Zhangjiakou said.


Why is it important to upgrade China's ice and snow industry?

"The Beijing Winter Olympic cycle has triggered the construction of lots of snow resorts and ice rinks, which has led to a rapid expansion of the ski industry chains. There are 803 ski resorts in China, but we can't branch out in the next few years. There is a bottleneck," said Zheng Liangcheng, director of the International Snow Federation and vice chairman of the Chinese Ski Association.

Zheng believes that upgrading is the way to further the development of the winter sports industry.

"The original ski industry is supporting the continuous expansion of infrastructure, but without the growth of demand in the next few years, the supply will be seriously greater than the market demand, which may lead to vicious competition."

Experts said that the upgrading relies on venues, upstream and downstream enterprises, and science and technology.

"During the Beijing Winter Olympics, our country invested a lot in scientific research, which has resulted in great achievements. If we can apply them to the public, industrial improvement could indeed come true," Zheng said.

In the sports service exhibition area of CIFTIS, many participants showcased their latest technologies and products.

In addition, according to experts, snow resorts and ice venues implementing environmental protection can save water, electricity and improve the operation; the diversified development of ski trails; accommodation and other supporting facilities can improve the experience of skiing and the overall service level. It is also crucial to carry out sustainable development.

With the participation of more than 30 countries and regions, the sports service exhibition of this year's CIFTIS opens a "window of the world" for sports in Shougang Garden.

Liu Haifeng, deputy mayor of Zhangjiakou, said that in the future, they will strengthen the exchanges and cooperation with Winter Olympic cities, sister cities and international organizations, actively introduce well-known equipment enterprises and strive to build a national winter sports equipment production base.

Shi Mingkang, counselor for health, welfare and sports at the Dutch Embassy in China, hopes that the Netherlands will have more exchanges and cooperation with China in winter sports industry. "We hope to have some deep cooperation with China. Some Dutch manufacturers are investing in Shanghai and Beijing. I think it's a very effective way of working together to encourage youth to play ice sports, not just in the cities, but also in the villages and towns."

Strengthening international exchanges is an important way to realize supply-side reform and new market expansion. 

Editor: Li Shimeng