Xinhua Headlines: Winter sports industry bridges China and the world

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By sportswriters Luo Xin and Lin Deren

BEIJING, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Wearing VR glasses and walking on snow boards, passionate visitors lined up to experience the 4-minute "Skiing in the Alps".

This is a glimpse of how enthusiastic people get about ice and snow sports in China.

People's love for ice and snow was on full display at the World Winter Sports (Beijing) Expo 2019 in Beijing this week, where more than 600 enterprises from China and abroad showcased their products and services.

As the annual WWSE enters its fourth year, China is moving into a new era of market boom and technological advances in the field.

According to a recent report by IDG Asia, China's ice and snow market is estimated to reach one trillion yuan by 2022.

China has also launched a development plan for the winter sports industry in March this year to enrich mass ice and snow activities, implement the strategy of "expanding to the North, the West and the East," promote the expansion of ice and snow sports during all four seasons, and strive to achieve the goal of involving 300 million people in ice and snow sports.

"It's an ambition to have 300 million Chinese people have access to winter sports," Jan Dijkema, President of International Skating Union, said. "The upcoming Olympics 2022 is a huge opportunity for China. The Expo provides exchanges of information and technology, and it's an incredible opportunity for China to realize the ambition."

"With higher expectations on the 2022 Games, it's important to promote the high-quality development of winter sports," said Zhang Jiandong, vice mayor of Beijing and executive vice chairman of the Organizing Committee for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

"We hope that you can make full use of the platform of the winter Expo, conduct in-depth discussions and exchanges, and extensively carry out practical cooperation in enterprise docking, project cooperation, personnel training, winter tourism, so as to achieve more fruitful results."


Ice and snow equipment are well represented at this year's WWSE.

Carving Ski, one of China's leading ski resort service specialists, showcased its latest automated snowmaker.

"With the improvement of people's living standards, skiing has gradually become popular not just among athletes but also among ordinary families. Although the European industry has a history of 100 years, we have only 20 years, but it doesn't affect our pace of catching up," said Yu Yang, Vice president of Carving Ski.

"Now China's ice and snow market is huge and the cost of imported equipment is high, so we increased independent research and development, reduce costs to help more Chinese people to be able to afford ice and snow sports," she added.

Carving Ski is one of the many Chinese companies that have cashed in on China's huge demand for winter sports, as the country enters the "Olympic Cycle" and deploys a plan to localize.

In June 2019, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State General Administration of Sport and other nine departments jointly issued an action plan for the development of the ice and snow equipment industry (2019-2022).

It is proposed that, by 2022, the annual sales revenue of China's ice and snow equipment industry will exceed 20 billion yuan, with an average annual growth rate of more than 20%.

"We now provide design, construction, management and operation for about half of the country's snow fields. This benefits from the expanding consumer demand behind it," Yu said.

According to the data of IDG, in 2018-2019, the number of domestic skiers reached 23.45 million, an increase of 21.5% compared with 19.3 million in 2017-2018.


In the past, the ice and snow industry was concentrated in northern China, especially the three northeastern provinces. Nowadays, indoor and outdoor ice and snow sports in the south are more and more popular. Some companies smell opportunities.

Guangzhou Dexin Sport Goods Co.,LTD is one of them. The sales person in the Expo told Xinhua that at the beginning, the company just produced ordinary glasses. However, with the opening of snow court in Guangzhou, more and more citizens began to demand snow goggles. They developed snow goggles ten years ago and at that time, most production went abroad. But now, there is a huge focus on domestic sales.

Finnish brand Reima specializes in children's winter suits. "We opened the first store in Beijing a few years ago, and then expanded to nearly 30 in Xi'an, Jinan, Shanghai and other places. More and more children, especially children in southern China, take part in ice and snow sports in winter camp," said Pan Qiting, the marketing manager of Reima Trading Beijing.


Themed "more internationalization, more specialization and more popularization," this year's WWSE is aimed at providing a platform for China and other countries to deepen cooperation in the ice and snow industry, Zhang Li, the vice president of IDG China, one organizer of the Expo, said.

In the exhibition, a dry toilet which can withstand low temperature attracts attention. Its ecological design makes it a fit for the upcoming Olympics site in Zhangjiakou.

"We cooperated with a French company Sanisphere and put their technology into practice in China. And we also made the product more suitable for Chinese's customers," said Sun Xin, project director of China Fishery Crony (Beijing) Leisure Culture Industry Development Co. , LTD.

"Sports is an important enabler of sustainable development. We think we can work with China to make a green Olympics," Mikko Salonen,an official of the Finnish Olympic Committee said.

"As sustainability is one of the main themes of the upcoming 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games, I see many future opportunities for long-term cooperation between our nations," Hanna Kosonen,the Minister of Science and Culture in Finland said.

Winter sports are also becoming more popular on campuses.

Sales and marketing manager of Finnish Snowboard Association, Jaakko Aro gave a presentation about "Kids on board" project.

"I hoped to introduce this project to China's schools. It's a safe and fun way to explore snowboarding indoors with the tools that have been specially developed. It's suitable for everyone including kids with disabilities," Aro said.

This year has been dubbed the China and Finland Sports year. Kisakallio school from Finland has already found a Chinese partner and promote dry land ice hockey in more than 20 primary and secondary schools in Dongcheng District of Beijing.

"The Games is approaching and it's a good opportunity for development of ice and snow industry in China. And the more important thing is the legacy of the Games. The facilities will remain and these are potentials. The Games will train professional coaches and educate professional officials,"Jan Dijkema said.

China's skiing industry will be in a period of rapid development in the next decade.

By 2030, China's skiing industry is expected to become the world's largest skiing market. Enditem

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