Di­ver­sity needed to beef up in­dus­try

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By SUN XIAOCHEN sunx­i­aochen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

De­spite see­ing steady growth, China’s sports in­dus­try is still im­ma­ture and should shift its fo­cus from man­u­fac­tur­ing to ser­vice and en­ter­tain­ment sec­tors, ac­cord­ing to re­searchers.

A re­port re­leased on Tues­day by the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Sport shows pref­er­en­tial poli­cies and a grow­ing pub­lic aware­ness about fit­ness have helped the in­dus­try de­velop at a steady pace, es­pe­cially the man­u­fac­ture of sport­ing goods.

The gross in­dus­trial value stood at 1.7 tril­lion yuan ($245 bil­lion) at the end of last year, in­di­cat­ing av­er­age year-onyear growth of 21 per­cent since 2011, the re­port said, cit­ing data from the Na­tional Bureau of Statis­tics.

The in­dus­try saw its value in­crease by 549.4 bil­lion yuan last year, ac­count­ing for 0.8 per­cent of GDP, up from 0.64 per­cent in 2014.

The big­gest sec­tors were man­u­fac­tur­ing and sales of sport­ing goods, val­ued at 1.12 tril­lion yuan and 350.8 bil­lion re­spec­tively, which to­gether contributed 86 per­cent of the in­dus­try’s value.

“The re­port shows the in­dus­try has been de­vel­op­ing steadily at a high growth rate stim­u­lated by in­creas­ing con­sump­tion of tan­gi­ble prod­ucts such as sports­wear and equip­ment,” said Wang Wei­dong, di­rec­tor of the sports author­ity’s eco­nomics depart­ment. “The in­dus­try’s con­tri­bu­tion to over­all eco­nomic growth is in­creas­ing sig­nif­i­cantly.”

As part of a shift in fo­cus from win­ning gold medals to pub­lic fit­ness and sports com­merce, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment is­sued an am­bi­tious plan in 2014 to boost the gross value of the sports in­dus­try to 5 tril­lion yuan by 2025.

Yet ob­servers have said the cur­rent man­u­fac­tur­ing-cen­tered con­sump­tion pat­tern re­flects an im­ma­ture in­dus­try and have called for a wider range of busi­nesses to be de­vel­oped.

“The pat­tern lags be­hind world sports pow­ers like the United States, where in­tan­gi­ble con­sump­tion, such as hir­ing train­ers and rent­ing sports venues, is more dom­i­nant,” said Jiang Chong­min, a se­nior re­searcher at the China In­sti­tute of Sport Sci­ence.

Lin Xian­peng, a sports in­dus­try pro­fes­sor at Bei­jing Sport Univer­sity, also stressed a need to pri­or­i­tize in­dus­trial di­ver­sify.

“It’s es­sen­tial to in­spire more con­sump­tion in fit­ness ser­vices, leisure ac­tiv­i­ties and com­pe­ti­tion-re­lated busi­nesses — ticket sales, club mer­chan­dis­ing and trad­ing me­dia rights — to cater to the pub­lic’s var­i­ous needs in sport as a way of life,” he added.

The top sports body is al­ready work­ing to stim­u­late con­sump­tion in these un­tapped ar­eas. Along with high-level de­part­ments such as the Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Min­istry of Fi­nance, the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Sport re­leased mul­ti­ple plans in Novem­ber to boost out­door and win­ter sports by build­ing more fa­cil­i­ties, and pro­vid­ing bet­ter venue ser­vices and train­ing.

China plans to build 50 moun­tain trails with lo­gis­tics fa­cil­i­ties and 1,000 clubs for open-water sports such as ca­noe­ing by 2020 as well as 800 ski re­sorts by 2022.

LIU PING / FOR CHINA DAILY

Peo­ple ride skele­tons on Tues­day at the launch of an ice and snow fes­ti­val at Yuyuan­tan Park in Bei­jing. The event will run un­til Feb 25.

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