China aims to triple the value of its professional sports industry to 2 trillion yuan ($290 billion) by 2025, while the country strives to build 100 prestigious sporting events and 100 domestic brands with independent intellectual property rights.
The goal was revealed in a guideline released on Dec 21 by the State Council, China’s Cabinet, to accelerate the development of the sports and performance industry.
The industry plays a vital role in unleashing consumption potential, improving the quality of people’s lives and creating new drivers of economic growth, the document said.
The industry will be built by promoting professional sports leagues, winter sports and globally prominent sporting events, such as world championships and world cups, said Li Yingchuan, deputy head of the General Administration of Sport, at a policy briefing hosted by the State Council Information Office on Dec 21. Professional leagues will focus on soccer, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, badminton, ice hockey and chess, he said.
The business environment will be improved by deepening reform of the business system, Li said. Companies will enjoy greater market access, and innovation will be strengthened in educational training for sports industries, he said.
Li said administrative approval of sporting events will be further streamlined, with event organizers no longer required to get approval from local sports authorities. The use of high-tech equipment will be encouraged in sporting events and performances, while authorities will crack down on illegal activities such as ticket scalping, he said.
The professional sports industry was valued at 620 billion yuan in 2016, about one-third of China’s overall economic output from sports, said Liu Fumin, director of the administration’s sports economy department.
Apart from soccer and basketball, China has a limited number of professional leagues in other sports, Liu said. The country lags behind other countries, such as the United States, in the number of professional athletic leagues, professional teams and the maturity of the sports market, he said.
Chu Bo, director of the policy and regulation department of the administration, said sports-related industries have seen rapid growth in recent years to become a new economic driver.
However, some barriers still hamper the development of professional sports, such as insufficient supplies, and consumers do not have strong desire, compared with other countries, for sports-related goods, said Chu. Therefore, the new guideline released on Dec 21 aims to solve problems and promote the sports industry and help China’s economic restructuring, he said.