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Chinese economy where to go post-Olympics
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As the 2008 Beijing Olympics ended in a splendor of fireworks, concerns over a post-Games downturn for the Chinese economy re-emerged.

History shows that some host countries had experienced post-Olympic declines because investment dropped, such as Tokyo and Seoul.

Japan witnessed a drastic fall in growth the year after the 1964 Games, down to 5.2 percent from the year-earlier 13.1 percent. The Republic of Korea saw the rate slip from 10.6 percent to 6.7 percent in 1989.

Will China follow the same pattern? The world ponders.

Worry over post-Games economy justified or not?

The capital's gross domestic product (GDP) was expected to register an average annualized 11.8 percent growth between 2005 and 2008, when the city was investing for the Games, said Chen Jian, the Beijing Olympic Economy Research Association deputy head.

The expected growth was, on average, 0.8 percentage points higher than the average rate for the five-year period from 2001 to 2005.

Chen said investment for the Games had driven the city's growth by the biggest margin in 2007 1.14 percent.

Official statistics showed organizers had spent 13 billion yuan (1.90 billion US dollars) on construction of venues and another 280 billion yuan on urban infrastructure, such as to upgrade transport and improve the environment.

About 1.5 million new job opportunities were created between 2005 and 2008 along with the investment.

Other host cities, including neighbouring Tianjin and Qingdao, also reported higher growth as they geared up for the Games. The sailing events in Qingdao helped boost regional economic growth by 0.8 percent annually.

The positive impact of hosting the Games was there, but its leverage among the huge national economy was limited.

Beijing's gross domestic product (GDP) only accounted for less than 4 percent of the country's total, and Olympic-related factors were not major forces behind the growth in host cities to make a difference after the Games.

The annual investment of Beijing for the Olympics took up only 1 percent of the country's total between 2002 and 2007, according to statistics. About 718,300 square meters of Games-related construction was completed in 2007, 0.0139 percent of the total.

Zhang Xiaode, a China National School of Administration professor, depicted the situation in a vivid way. "If the Chinese economy is measured at a scale equal to the sea, the impact of a frog into the sea can almost be ignored."

A J.P. Morgan Chase report said the Chinese economy was not likely to slow in the post-Games period. It argued host countries of large economies that enjoyed fast growth were not vulnerable to such impact.

Justin Yifu Lin, the chief economist and vice president of the World Bank, had long held China would face no post-Olympic recession.

The size of the economy dwarfed the investment on building venues and infrastructure for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he said in May.

The country had plenty of investment prospects as it was to host the World Expo in Shanghai and the Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010, among other international events.

President Hu Jintao also openly endorsed the view in a joint interview with overseas journalists a week ahead of the Games.

"Preparations for the Games have undoubtedly boosted Beijing's economic and social development. However, the city's GDP accounts for a tiny part of China's total, so people should not overestimate the impact."

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