China looks to actively cultivate economic power from its sports sector

Students of a middle school in Jiaozuo, central China's Henan Province,
practice Tai Chi during a break from class (XINHUA©)
On October 20, the State Council, China's cabinet, issued a document entitled Guidelines on Accelerating the Development of Sports Industry and Promoting Sports Consumption, intended to boost productivity in the country's sports sector. The guidelines outlined plans to turn the nation's sporting world into an important driving force for economic growth.

The document has accorded China's sports industry an unprecedented level of national importance, marking the first time the Chinese Government has attempted to tap into the economic potential of the sports industry, analysts say.

According to the guidelines, the government expects the sports industry to be worth a whopping 5 trillion yuan ($813 billion) by the end of 2025.

China's sports industry is worth about 900 billion yuan ($146.34 billion) right now, which means the plans are to make it almost five times larger within a decade. This is massive," said Hao Fuqing, a senior official of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The guidelines focus on encouraging more people to participate in athletics and on channeling more investment into sports facilities and stadiums for public use. Public agencies, businesses, social organizations, and schools should all implement one hour of fitness every day to enable employees and staff to take part, the guidelines state. The government will also build "15-minute fitness areas" in communities across the country.

Analysts say the move will provide more opportunities for the country's sports industry and make it be a new contributor to China's sustainable social and economic development.
Liu Peng, Minister of the General Administration of Sport (GAS), said that with incomes rising across the country, Chinese people are pursuing a higher quality of life.

"The notion of investment in health is taking firmer root among the people and physical fitness is gaining more attention," Liu said, adding that China needs to further unleash the potential of the sports market.

According to the GAS, the sports industry is expected to account for about 1 percent of the country's GDP by 2025, the same level as in most developed countries, compared with 0.6 percent in 2012.

Huge potential

In the guidelines, the government admitted that the sports industry in China is still in its infant stages and its vitality is yet to be explored.

According to an annual report on sports industry development jointly released by the Beijing-based Social Sciences Academic Press and Beijing Sport University in July, sporting goods sales in China reached.... continue reading on bjreview.com....

Source Beijing Review by Yin Pumin ©

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