Sports / China

Vice sports minister unveils ambitious goal for sports industry

By Sun Xiaochen ( Updated: 2015-12-08 17:43

China's vice sports minister unveiled a goal for the country's sports industry to reach total gross value of 7 trillion yuan ($1.09 trillion) by 2025 on Tuesday, a more ambitious outcome than previous estimates in the national plan.

Citing the huge potential for China's sports market especially in professional sports and fitness service sectors, Feng Jianzhong, deputy director of the General Administration of Sport of China, said on Tuesday that the combined scale of the sports industry's gross value in 31 provinces, regions and municipalities will be expected to reach 7 trillion yuan by 2025 according to regional implementation plans.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a blueprint last October to grow the country's sports market, planning to increase the total scale of the sports industry to 5 trillion yuan by 2025 when it was expected to account for about 1 percent of GDP compared with 0.63 percent in 2013.

According to GASC statistics, China's sports industry contributed an added value of 356.4 billion yuan to the total gross output of 1.09 trillion in 2013.

The big gap between the current scale and the ambitious goal has raised doubts from observers but Feng is confident that the target is achievable, citing an industry shift from traditional manufacturing sectors to businesses related to sports competitions and services.

"Compared to sports industry powers like the United States, the intangible consumption in fitness services and competition relevant businesses remains in low in China, which means we have a greater potential to grow in these areas," Feng said.

Competition-related businesses include ticket sales for professional sports performances, club merchandizing and media rights trade as well as sports endorsement.

According to research by Lin Xianpeng, a sports economy professor at Beijing Sport University, more than 70 percent of the value in the sports industry in the US was generated by businesses related to its four major professional sports leagues – basketball, baseball, American football and ice hockey in 2013.

The annual added value of the US sports industry reached $450 billion in 2013, accounting for about 3 percent of GDP, according to Lin's research.

"We still have a huge gold mine with an immense number of potential business opportunities which have yet to be exploited," said Lin.

The added value of the sports industry in China will be estimated to reach 400 billion yuan by the end of 2015, accounting for 0.7 percent of GDP. By 2020, the total scale of the sports industry will be more than 3 trillion yuan and the proportion of the added value to GDP will be 1 percent, according to Feng's speech on Tuesday.

To spur more investment in the sports market, the GASC has relinquished administrative examination and approval for commercial and mass sporting events as implementation of the plan so event operators don't need to pay administration fees to the authorities while enjoying more rights to market their events.

Since the issuing of the plan, the GASC has held a series of meetings with more than 20 relevant ministry-level departments including the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance to work on detailed policies, regulations and measures to boost the sports industry.

To inspire greater public sports participation, a total subsidy of 870 million yuan has been granted by the central government to 1,212 sports venues around the country which are open to public use free-of-charge or for a low charge this year.

So far, 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have responded to the master plan by working on local measures, while 18 of them have established special funds to encourage more non-governmental capital investments in the sports industry.

Feng said the State and regional authorities and relevant departments will continue to work in areas such as pushing sports venues' commercial operation, integrating the sports industry and relevant leisure and tourism sectors and training qualified staff teams in fitness service to further grow the industry.

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