While the news is still moving Chinese people’s heart, some already start to doubt about this project, which seems to bring more troubles than advantages both technically and concerning its image.
After 2008, here comes 2022!
The Olympics in general have always represented an opportunity to promote the country internationally and indirectly, to see its growth sustained thanks to the games. The year 2008 was a good example of development of the city of Beijing and its surroundings. Elected in 2001 to host the most anticipated of all sports enthusiasts event, Beijing has been transformed into a modern metropolis while few years ago, its lands were shared with agricultural fields and industrial plants. In 7 years, the Chinese government has given a new face to its capital based on investments of several billion Yuan. The changes are significant and the quality of life of Chinese capital has grown accordingly.
The number of Subway lines increased from 2 to 8, a new airport is makingworld records (largest terminal in the world, the first airport in Asia in terms of frequency, second in the world), greater control of atmospheric problems, theend of the rural area in the city, the multiplication of areas to modern skyscrapers and shopping malls.
At first glance, the 2022 Winter Olympic Games could only announce good news if we compare with the development that China has experienced through 2008. With a significant delay in terms of winter sports development compared to its Asian neighbors, a new market would be represented by 1.35 billion of its inhabitants. The enthusiasm for sports from 2008 gives an overview of the impact on the sociological habits of Chinese, especially among the Youth. This new sensibility didn’t exist before. Today, a football game between Shanghai team against Beijing team is as popular as a Manchester United-Liverpool in the UK.
Different cultures, different ways of skiing
For now, China has only few areas of ski slopes, which are all based in the north. These tracks are entirely made by machines and have nothing to do with the tracks found in the Alps. Yet, the local approach of winter sports is really different from the traditional approach because unlike us, the Chinese do not have this habit of “having a week” of skiing. They ski by curiosity and the sessions rarely exceed the time of a day.
What impact will these Winter Olympic Games have on the economy and habits of the Chinese? Will it be as important as the 2008’s Olympics? That is the question.
Just chosen by the International Olympic Committee, China is facing issues that put into doubt the implementation and consequences of a third supra-event (2 Olympic games and the universal exhibition in Shanghai).
The first question is related with the snow. Even if Beijing can reuse the equipment and the 2008 Olympics sites, China doesn’t have any top-class facility for winter sports that requires uncovered environment. To face this problem, the government has chosen two locations to build them located 200 km north from Beijing: in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou. Still, these places differ widely from the snowy mountains found in the countries that welcome natural skiing and obviously, the use of artificial snow will be necessary to recreate the winter sports environment.
This use of artificial snow attracts precisely the second question focused on the ecological footprint by this greedy process to make water. Already controversial for its project called “南水北调” (shuibei nan diao, translated into “transfer of water from the south to the north”) that involves a distributed hydraulic system throughout the country that redirects water from the south to the north, China “promises” to use less than 1% of the region’s resources. As for the level of sport professionals, I don’t think the idea of having the Olympics on artificial snow is welcomed for everyone.
In the long term, these Olympics will once again give to china China the opportunity to boost its growth. Investors, tourists, new markets are the new challenges of these Games. Moreover, since the announcement of the selection of Beijing, this event gave entrepreneurs the green light to get contracts. So if you are among those who want to engage in the business of winter sports in China, it is the right time!