Preparing for Winter Sports
The World Winter Sports (Beijing) Expo 2017 was held from September 7 to 10, exploring development prospects of China’s winter sports industry through displays, conventions and negotiations.
The World Winter Sports (Beijing) Expo 2017, or WWSE 2017, was held at the China National Convention Center in Beijing from September 7 to 10. With the theme of “Leading the Way,” the WWSE 2017 explored the development prospect and path of China's winter sports industry through winter sports education, Olympic city development, ski resort operation and management, exhibition and display, summit forum, supporting activities and business negotiation.
With an exhibition area of more than 22,000 square metres, the WWSE 2017 attracted over 400 renowned brands from home and abroad and over 9,000 enterprises. More than 200 domestic and foreign experts were invited to give lectures at a main conference and over 20 sub-conferences, to analyse new trends of China's winter sports industry. The WWSE 2017 aimed to support the 2022 Winter Olympics, lead domestic winter sports industry, promote its goal of “300 million people to take part in winter sports,” and build China into a country with strong winter sports.
Winter Olympic Passion
General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech that the 2022 Winter Olympics will be a symbolic event for China. As the date approaches, the 2022 Winter Olympics has also provided China's winter sports industry and even the whole sports cause with golden opportunities—government increases its support for the winter sports industry, and the number of people taking part in winter sports increases year by year. In the meantime, China is the only country that achieves rapid growth against the stagnation of global ski market. The worth of China's winter sports industry is expected to exceed 1 trillion yuan in 2025.
With China's winter sports industry's recent development, the WWSE, as one of the largest expos for winter sports, has responded to General Secretary Xi Jinping's call for developing the winter sports industry, given support to the preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics, boosted China's winter sports industry, and improved the
winter sports industry as well as the entire sports industry.
The WWSE 2017 set up several exhibition areas, including Winter Garment and Accessories, Winter Travel Destination, National and Regional Pavilions, Mountain & Winter Sports Hi-tech, Olympic Theme, Winter Sports Show, Winter Sports Games and Culture, Introducing Winter Sports into Schools, Internet plus Sports, Machinery & Equipment, and Real Ice Arena and Interactive Zone. It integrated equipment manufacturing, industry services, winter tourism, winter fitness and winter culture, creating a display and interaction platform for the winter sports industry.
The Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and Winter Paralympic also showcased the latest developments of the 2022 Winter Olympics at the expo and provided the public with the opportunity to learn more about winter sports, and the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, attracting more people to take part in winter sports. Yanqing's exhibition area displayed its preparations for the Winter Olympics, preferential policies for winter projects and tourism resources.
Xiong Xiaoge, founding partner of International Data Group (IDG), said, “The WWSE introduces world-class winter sports products, technologies, management and services to integrate the most advantageous resources of the industry. With a forward perspective, the WWSE leads the development of the winter sports industry, deepens the public's understanding of and love for winter sports, and promotes winter sports towards mass leisure sports.”
Yet developing the winter sports industry isn't without the participation from the masses. The WWSE 2017 introduced colourful exhibitions and activities to make ordinary visitors feel the infinite passion of winter sports, and share the WWSE and the Winter Olympics together.
There was an ice show field, a snow slope and some curling activities at the Real Ice Arena and Interactive Zone, where visitors could engage in winter sports. The Internet plus Sports Zone introduced winter sports simulation system, intelligent sports equipment and app experience, and Sharp, BOE and Foxconn displayed the latest 8K technology and products applied to modern sports.
Xiong Xiaoge was optimistic about the 8K technology. Foxconn will use the 8K technology to report at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 8K resolution, or 8K ultra high definition (UHD), is the current highest UHDTV resolution in digital television and digital cinematography. 8K UHD has 16 times as many pixels as Full HD, and is able to show every detail of winter sports, especially those featuring high speed like figure skating.
Dry ski technology also attracted attention at the expo. As a complement to the ski industry, dry ski ushered in great development opportunities in terms of policy and business. The Mass Winter Sports Promotion Plan (2016–2020) jointly issued by the General Administration of Sport and other 23 ministers and commissions made it clear to have 300 million people to take part in winter sports, and to build dry ski slopes with new technologies and materials to create alternative winter sports venues.
According to Li Mingyong, chairman of the Beijing Olympic Forest Park JF Dry Ski Slope, the JF Dry Ski Slope is located in the southern part of the Olympic Forest Park with an area of 20,000 square metres, and has been put to use since the opening day of the WWSE 2017 (September 7), putting an end to days when people can only ski in winter or at suburban ski resorts. The JF Dry Ski Slope is the largest outdoor ski resort available yearround in Asia, with 18 kinds of skiing trails for skiers of all ages and at all levels. In the meantime it also serves as a training venue for China's national ski team and Beijing ski team, to help the national ski team better prepare for the 2022 Winter Olympics and reserve more potential ski athletes.
The national youth ski team already began training on the JF Dry Ski Slope. Youth athletes step on the artificial “snow,” making the noise resembling real snow. JF Dry Ski Slope features distinct areas and comprehensive ski trails. It can receive 3,000 people at most per day, and is expected to receive 300,000 skiers per year, hailed as the “ski training school of the capital.”
Aside from the main conference, over 20 sub-conferences and special events all focused on China's winter sports industry, analysed future market conditions and development trends, and gave advice and suggestions for the industry.
As the outpost of the 2022 Winter Olympics, the WWSE 2017 specially set the Olympic City Development Conference, and invited the mayors of the former Olympic host cities, to discuss the experience of building Olympic cities and the sustainable development of Beijing as a host city of both Summer and Winter Olympics. To cultivate the potential growth points of China's winter sports industry, IDG Sports
has cooperated with several investment institutions to hold entrepreneurship competitions for the winter sports industry. The Introducing Winter Sports into Schools Conference drew on winter sports education and training experience of the US, Austria, Norway, Sweden and other countries keen on winter sports, in hopes of solving the potential difficulties in spreading winter sports among Chinese youth, and achieving the goal of 300 million people to take part in winter sports.
In addition, conferences on management of ski slopes and resorts, winter sports industry pan-entertainment, winter sports scientific and technological innovation, winter sports talent cultivation, winter sports marketing, and winter sports tourism also gathered the elites to create a blueprint for global winter sports industry, and explore China's potential in the winter sports market.
At the same time, Switzerland held a four-day themed event; Finland held two conferences for its national tourism industry and national education development, as well as a natural building summit to explore the relation between human living space and nature; Norway held the China–norway Economic Development Summit. Winter sports and camp education, the China Ski Event Forum, the China Winter Sports Industry Capital Summit, the COOL Winter Sports Industry and other special activities combined the efforts of China's winter sports industry in tourism, education and business development, and analysed the current status of the entire industry.
Relying on the platform of the 2022 Winter Olympics, the WWSE widely drew on advanced foreign experience, fully integrated industrial resources, and promoted mass winter sports, boosting the innovation and development of China's winter sports in the golden age, and helping China build a country with strong winter sports.
Winter Sports Promotion
Since Beijing and Zhangjiakou's successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, winter sports and the winter sports industry has developed rapidly in China. Therefore, talent building has become an important task against such a background.
At the WWSE 2016, many people showed interest in introducing winter sports into schools. Earlier this year, the National Development and Reform Commission, the General Administration of Sport, the National Tourism Administration and the Ministry of Education jointly issued a document to promote the construction of schools featuring winter sports. According to the document, 5,000 winter sports demonstration schools shall be built in China by 2025. It is a goal that needs nationwide participation. Introducing winter sports into schools and promoting winter sports among youth are the most important parts of the goal to bring 300 million people to take part in winter sports.
Zhu Zhou, vice president of the IDG in Asia, said, “The solutions for introducing winter sports into schools showed various trends at the WWSE 2017. For example, we see simulated ice and snow at the expo, and they are both related to the hardware. We believe that introducing winter sports into schools and training youth teams are also closely related to the software, courseware and training. In addition to the hardware, we are also concerned about content and software, so we have localised courses about winter sports and related sports talent for Chinese students. Popularising winter sports among youth requires a group of experienced and professional coaches. Therefore, we've actively cooperated with Beijing Sport University and Harbin Sport University to promote the introduction of winter sports into schools through their professional coaches.”
A total of 200 exhibitors took part in the WWSE 2016, while 400 in the WWSE 2017, including 200 Chinese exhibitors and 200 foreign exhibitors. As more enterprises engage in the winter sports industry, more investment opportunities have emerged. Though the winter sports industry doesn't have a long history in China, the State leaders look far ahead and aim high, and decide to have 300 million people to take part in winter sports and hold the 2022 Winter Olympics. Xiong Xiaoge said, “With a great market comes a big promise.”
The WWSE is a platform for not only display and communication, but also business connection. Since the first WWSE in 2016, some European brands have settled
down in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou. Before its opening, the WWSE 2017 carried out business matching services for these brands. Therefore, many exhibitors and enterprises have got more cooperative partners through multiple channels. They carried out online business conversations and had face-to-face negotiations at the expo. At the same time, some Finnish, Norwegian and Swiss enterprises and experts will carry out investigations in places active in the winter sports industry, such as Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, and take into consideration future projects in those places, including technical cooperation and local production.
Xu Zhou said, “We have some plans and expectations. You might have found that we display some high mountain technologies and ski slope construction plans. In fact, these aspects can help to produce great values. Some European and American enterprises engaged in manufacturing cable cars and artificial snow machines also take part in the WWSE, as they find potential opportunities though China's facilities for winter sports and Winter Olympics under construction. The WWSE has created a production value of about 10 billion yuan through direct sales of these manufacturers and the enterprises that will settle down in China and start local production.
As for the theme “Leading the Way,” Jiang Xiaoyu, vice president of the Beijing Olympic City Development Association, said that the theme implies that the expo will lead China's winter sports industry in a good direction.
Winter sports developed late in China with a weak start. However, the 2022 Winter Olympics is expected usher in a golden opportunity for China's winter sports industry. China also desires to take advantage of it and promote its winter sports industry. An old Chinese saying goes: “Stones from other hills may serve to polish the jade of this one.” China hopes to learn from those countries which have been engaged in winter sports for over 100 years. Therefore, the WWSE 2017 invited experts from the International Olympic Committee, Switzerland, the US, Sweden and Norway to share their experience, provide reference for China's winter sports industry, and give advice on the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Though Europe and North America have good foundation in developing their winter sports industries, Asia features just as much vitality and passion. A recent sporting event held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia included short track speed skating and figure skating, and attracted audiences with every seat occupied. In the meantime, China also holds a variety of games for winter sports.
Jan-jacquesde Dardel, chairman of the International Skating Union, said, “For me, China is the future of winter sports. There are 1.4 billion people in China, along with so many opportunities. Europe and North America will compete with China for the dominance of winter sports. I cherish many of the treasures left by the Winter Olympics. As to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, I look forward to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and its treasures for winter sports.”
Simulated skiing at the World Winter Sports (Beijing) Expo 2017
A promotion video for the 2022 Winter Olympics
Young skiers on a dry ski slope