Small and medium-sized businesses need to learn to seek out a niche market. Where there is demand, there is always a market. But competition is tough and businesses must position themselves correctly to sniff out the right opportunities during the critical pre-Olympic run-up period. Five areas are particularly compelling: technology, food and beverage, construction, hospitality and handicrafts.
Du Wei of the OERA sees the Olympics as a platform of huge potential for technology companies. Small and medium-sized businesses are advised to pay particular attention to networking, security check technology and anti-forgery technology in terms of tickets and credentials of various kinds.
"Quite a number of technological applications have found practical uses, such as solar-powered vehicles, face recognition technology, environmentally friendly sanitary products and energy-saving air-conditioning, many of which were contributed by high-tech small businesses," Du said.
Food & Beverage
This is certainly a huge market, but a wide variety of tastes need to be taken into account. Around 270,000 participants and 7 million spectators from 202 countries and regions are forecast to descend on Beijing for the Games, which add up to a lot of meals. "The availability of entertainment and recreational facilities around the Olympic Village, restaurants with a variety of dining choices and international-level sanitation facilities offer an enormous number of business opportunities," said Du.
Many opportunities are available in the construction sector. The 2008 public bidding for sole suppliers and supporting suppliers for the Olympic Games, held at the Guangzhou Garden Hotel in June this year, revealed a sourcing plan valued at 2 billion yuan. Many of the winners were small and medium-sized businesses in the Pearl River Delta. Demand for items as small as high efficiency bulbs and as large as elevators is huge. Environmentally friendly and green products have a significant edge.
Now is the time to prepare for this sector. Opportunities abound. Service quality and branding can be improved to prepare for full-house occupancy that will send revenues soaring; and there is still a shortage of cheaper budget hotels.
Experience from past Olympic Games proves that finely crafted souvenirs with strong local character are snapped up by tourists like hotcakes. There is likely to be a big market for items such as Hangzhou silks, Yunnan tapestries and miniature stadium models.
"It's not necessary to get the qualification to produce Olympic souvenirs," Du said. "As long as your products are of good aesthetic quality, embody an essence of traditional folk art, and are finely crafted and reasonably priced, you stand to have a good market."
Wang Huamin, Deputy Director of the Beijing Industrial Olympic Economic Action Steering Committee, urges investors to widen their vision. "Articles carrying any connection to the Olympics and Olympic venues will be recognized as Olympic souvenirs," he said. "Businesses may by all means play the Olympic card."
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