Putting their skates on to boost out­put

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS | FOCUS - By JING SHUIYU in Beijing and TIAN XUEFEI in Harbin

A Qiqi­har-based skates man­u­fac­turer will in­vest 550 mil­lion yuan ($79.4 mil­lion) in ex­pand­ing pro­duc­tion in the next five years, fore­cast­ing bumper win­ter sports sea­sons.

Hei Long Ice Skates Man­u­fac­tur­ing Co Ltd, a pri­vate com­pany, said it would in­crease its pro­duc­tion of skates to 3 mil­lion units a year by 2020, and would start to pro­duce snow­boards, ski boards and pro­tec­tive equip­ment.

Its an­nual ski and snow­board pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity will be 200,000 units within five years and pro­tec­tive equip­ment pro­duc­tion will hit 340,000, according to the com­pany.

tril­lion yuan

bil­lion yuan

Com­pany chair­man Shan Zhi­hong said: “I see a bright fu­ture for the win­ter sports equip­ment in­dus­try, es­pe­cially af­ter the gov­ern­ment is­sued a se­ries of plans for the in­dus­try ear­lier this month.”

In one of the plans, the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Sport of China pro­posed that the fi­nan­cial scale of win­ter sports should reach 600 bil­lion yuan by 2020 and 1 tril­lion yuan by 2025.

How­ever, the plan also listed sev­eral bot­tle­necks for the in­dus­try’s growth. For ex­am­ple, the num­ber of peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ing in win­ter sports is lower than that for other sports, and there is a short­age of lo­cal com­pa­nies to build their own brands.

“Win­ter sports are cur- rently less pop­u­lar than sum­mer sports among Chi­nese, as they can be more eas­ily af­fected by the environment and ge­o­graph­i­cal con­di­tions,” said Huang Yal­ing, pro­fes­sor at Beijing Sport Univer­sity.

“But win­ter sports will flour­ish in more places in the near fu­ture be­cause of tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, like snow-mak­ing equip­ment,” Huang said.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ments are map­ping out poli­cies to en­gage more cit­i­zens in win­ter sports.

China’s north­east­ern prov­ince of Hei­longjiang, where Hei Long’s op­er­a­tions are lo­cated, is rich in nat­u­ral re­sources suit­able for win­ter sports. Gov­er­nor Lu Hao was quoted by web por­tal Sohu.com as say­ing that the prov­ince would in­te­grate sports, cul­ture and tourism re­sources to boost its econ­omy.

Beijing will im­prove public ser­vices for win­ter sports and pro­mote skill and fit­ness, Sun Xue­cai, di­rec­tor of the Beijing Mu­nic­i­pal Bureau of Sports, said at a news con­fer­ence.

Shan said that coun­try-level plans and lo­cal pol­icy de­ci­sions would of­fer plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to his com­pany, and he pro­jected an out­put of 1 bil­lion yuan in 2020 and 3 bil­lion yuan in 2025.

Hei Long halted pro­duc­tion in 2012 be­cause of shrink­ing prof­its. Af­ter a three-year ab­sence, Shan de­cided to re­sume busi­ness in June 2015, as there are an in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple show­ing in­ter­est in skat­ing and ski­ing.

Within six months af­ter Shan re­opened the com­pany, rev­enue hit 10.07 mil­lion yuan.

To shore up growth, the com­pany said it was in­vest­ing in re­search and de­vel­op­ment, pro­mot­ing its brand name, and launch­ing a mar­ket­ing cam­paign.

fi­nan­cial scale of China’s win­ter sports in 2025, according to the sports reg­u­la­tor es­ti­mated out­put value of Hei Long Ice Skates Man­u­fac­tur­ing Co by 2025

Con­tact the writ­ers at tianx­ue­fei@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

WANG QIANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Skiers per­form dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony of a ski re­sort in Changchun, Jilin prov­ince.

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