Firms rush to up production for domestic, overseas orders
The "snow mania" following the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games has boosted the development of a wide range of winter sports industries, including the production of winter sports gear and equipment, with Chinese producers seeing surging orders from both home and abroad.
"We have been seeing a rapid order increase," a salesperson from Maosen Sports Equipment based in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang Province, told the Global Times on Saturday.
Maosen mainly manufactures snow boards, with most of its products being exported to North America and Europe, the salesperson explained. Apart from increased exports, factory orders placed by domestic buyers have also shot up recently, she said.
"The number of orders increased by 20 percent compared with the same period in 2021," a manager surnamed Liu of a manufacturer of skates and roller skates in Ningbo, told the Global Times on Sunday.
According to Liu, workers rushed to increase production for orders from Russia, even during the Spring Festival holiday.
A maker of ski poles and snowshoes based in Ninghai county in Zhejiang, saw overseas orders increase by more than 50 percent on a yearly basis. A manager of the enterprise said that they seized the market opportunity of the Winter Olympic Games and quickly developed more than 10 new products according to the market demand.
Liming Metalware Co from Ningbo recorded a 50-percent increase in orders from overseas. The firm mainly produces ski poles and ski shoes, according to local media.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, Ningbo producers exported ski gear and equipment worth over 196 million yuan ($31 million), a surge of 56.3 percent year-on-year. The export category mainly involves ski clothing and ski shoes and boots, which were mainly sold to North America and Europe, China Media Group reported on Saturday, citing a local customs official.
According to Alibaba's AliExpress, overseas sales of Chinese ski products increased by more than 60 percent year-on-year during the Winter Olympics, including a 15-fold increase in domestic ski helmets.
In 2021, consumers in 100 countries and regions around the world bought Chinese snow equipment on AliExpress, according to the firm.
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games has boosted domestic market supply and demand, Wu Bin, founder and CEO of Beijing Snowpal Enterprise Management Co and vice chairman of Beijing Ski Association, told the Global Times.
"Since 2015, ice and snow venues and service facilities have grown substantially. The number of ski venues increased from 460 in 2014 to 715 in 2020. Meanwhile, infrastructure facilities for ski resorts, such as cable cars, snow machines and magic carpets, all increased by more than 150 percent," said Wu.
With China achieving its goal of engaging 300 million people in winter sports prior to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, a huge market has formed up, which will greatly boost the development of China's winter sports equipment manufacturing industries, Jiang Yiyi, deputy head of the School of Leisure Sports and Tourism under the Beijing Sport University, told the Global Times on Saturday.
"After the Winter Olympics, snow and ice enthusiasm will continue for a long time in China. The ski market, in particular, is expected to accelerate. It is expected that by 2030, the number of domestic skiers will be close to 60 million, on par with the world's super ski powers like the US, France and Austria," said Wu.
The Winter Olympics will promote the development of the winter sports manufacturing sector in the long run, according to Jiang.
Foreign players in this space have been leading the equipment industries, Jiang said, stressing that Chinese producers are now gaining their own advantage with a surging domestic demand and the nation's research and development (R&D) of new materials.
A number of high-tech industrial parks have been set up focusing on winter sports-related industries, and firms and universities have joined hands for new technology R&D.
All these investments, together with China's world-class manufacturing capacity, will further drive the rapid growth of China's winter sports manufacturing economy, Jiang noted.
Apart from manufacturing, the development of the ice and snow service industry will also be boosted in China thanks to the improvement in infrastructure.
According to analysts, the Beijing-Zhangjiakou High-speed Railway and Beijing-Chongli Expressway have brought Chongli and Zhangjiakou in North China's Hebei Province into Beijing's one-hour economic circle, laying a solid foundation for building a Beijing-Zhangjiakou sports tourism cluster after the Winter Olympics.
In Zhangjiakou, an industrial park for ice and snow has been operating since August 2018. The Zhangjiakou Ice &Snow Sports Equipment Industrial Park incorporates a light equipment production area, heavy equipment manufacturing area, office, a R&D hub, and ice and snow sports exhibition center.
It covers a total area of 1,160 mu(77.3 hectares), and to date 31 Chinese and foreign companies have set up operations in the park.