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Opinion
Winter Sports Heat Up
Snow is fueling the winter sports industry
Editorial | NO. 04 JANUARY 25, 2018

This winter, most regions in China have seen snow, and even south China, where snow is rare, has been hit by blizzards. While causing inconvenience to travelers, snow is fueling the country's winter sports industry.

The rise of winter sports is partly attributable to Beijing's success in bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, followed by the state's publicity efforts and also scientific planning and management of the winter sports industry.

After Beijing won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the General Administration of Sport in China issued formal plans on the development of winter sports and also on the construction of ski slopes until 2025. Winter sports events hosted by governments at various levels and also non-government institutions keep increasing, attracting more and more participants. Particularly, sports events in the form of entertainment activities for mass participation are especially popular, boosting the public's enthusiasm for winter sports in China.

In China, northern areas are more suitable for outdoor winter sports, with 72 percent of the country's ski resorts located in the north. But today, with the help of science and technology, indoor ski slopes and dry ski slopes have begun to appear in the south, defying the warm climate

conditions. According to the 2018 White Paper on China's Winter Sports issued by Tencent Sports, a strategic partner of the Chinese Olympic Committee, in 2017, China had 26 winter sports-themed towns, up from eight in 2015. The coming years will continue to see a surge of such towns in China and their number is expected to hit 40 by 2020.

Of all winter sporting events held in 2017, competition events amounted to 76 while entertainment events reached more than 120. China is to establish the Chinese Ice Hockey League in 2018, which will further extend the influence of winter sports across the country.

The boom of winter sports will not only ramp up the related market and industry, but will also promote China's tourism growth. The abovementioned planning issued by the General Administration of Sport predicts that the overall value chain of winter sports in China will reach 600 billion yuan ($93.24 billion) by 2020 and even 1 trillion yuan ($155.4 billion) by 2025.

The winter sports sector also provides a means of fighting poverty for those who live near snow resorts. With improved infrastructure conditions and rising sports enthusiasm, tourists have flocked into remote mountain areas which harbor sound ski territory in recent years. Local people are able to make extra earnings with new jobs and business opportunities. In this sense, the boom of winter sports will benefit both the nation and the people.

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