Beijing is well ahead of schedule in its preparations for the 2008 Summer Games, and intends to widen the gap even further.
Seven five-star hotels signed the Olympic Lodging Agreement with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG) in March to provide accommodation during the Games, to be held from August 8 to 24, 2008. The Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Co. (BOB) was established in May to ensure the successful broadcasting of the Games, and a global search for the mascot design was launched in May.
The Bank of China (BOC) became the official banking partner of the 2008 Olympics on July 14 after "a thorough investigation and all-round evaluation." BOC, one of China's four major state-owned commercial banks, will provide financing and other forms of support to the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics, BOCOG, the Chinese Olympic Committee, as well as Chinese sports delegations for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin and 2008 Summer Olympics.
"It is another important step in Beijing Olympics' market development. I believe that the cooperation between BOC and BOCOG will play an important role in ensuring a successful Olympics," said BOCOG Vice President Jiang Xiaoyu.
Germany's Volkswagen Group became BOCOG's automobile partner last month. It will provide financial, automobile and other forms of support.
Earlier, General Electric and Autos Origin became Worldwide Olympic Partners.
In March, computer maker Lenovo (formerly Legend Group) became China's first company to join the Olympic Partner Program.
Jiang said that other partnership negotiations are going well and that BOCOG welcomes the participation of both foreign and domestic companies in the Olympics.
The marketing plan is composed of licensing, sponsorship and partnership programs. Partnerships and sponsorships include four-year exclusive marketing rights, while the licensing program authorizes companies to make and sell products with the official Olympic emblem only after paying royalties to BOCOG.
After completing the conceptual designs of and public tenders for four Olympic venues, Beijing embarked on a three-year construction project.
The scale and complexity of venue construction for the Beijing Games are unprecedented in any previous Olympic Games.
Beijing began construction of the National Stadium and the National Swimming Center last December, broke ground for the shooting range and cycling velodrome, and launched public bids two months ago for two other Olympic venues, the National Tennis Center and National Hockey Stadium that will be located in the Olympic Green in north Beijing.
Hein Verbruggen, chairman of the International Olympic Committee's Coordination Commission for the 2008 Olympic Games, said his groups was very pleased with what they had seen when inspecting the construction sites of the National Stadium and the National Swimming Center.
The Chinese capital has promised to finish construction of its sporting facilities at least a year ahead of the Games so that test events may be held during 2007.
Verbruggen said he was confident that Beijing would achieve its goals.
"We're very sure that, as it has been promised by BOCOG, the work will be finished by the end of 2006, which is an absolute record," said Verbruggen.
Earlier this month, the emblem for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games was unveiled in a ceremony at the China Centenary Altar. The red, blue and green logo, entitled "Heaven, Earth and Human," is based on the Chinese character "zhi." It also includes the logo of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the English words "Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games."
(Xinhua News Agency July 27, 2004)