Shanghai's sports industry continues to shape up
At 6 pm on a Tuesday, the east bank of Shanghai's Huangpu River in the Pudong New Area is already abuzz with fitness activities.
Runners, cyclists, and tai ji enthusiasts intertwine with health qigong followers, square dancers, and groups practicing the traditional dance of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in a scene that exemplifies the city's growing ambitions for its booming sports industry.
The daily activities at the riverside are a microcosm of how the national fitness campaign and sports culture are putting a spring in the city's step. For the past decade, Shanghai has tirelessly promoted the development of the sports industry.
According to a report co-published by the city's sports and statistics bureaus, Shanghai's sports industry was worth 178 billion yuan ($28 billion) in 2019, with an added value of 56 billion yuan, accounting for 1.5 percent of the city's GDP that year.
However, last month's publication of the 14th Five-Year Plan by the Shanghai Municipal People's Government is set to take the industry to the next level. The plan envisages that the city will become a world-renowned sports hub, with over 46 percent of residents regularly participating in physical exercise. The per-capita sports venue area will reach about 2.6 square meters by 2025.
Chasing a revenue target of 20 billion yuan from major annual sports tournaments by 2025, Shanghai will strive to double the total scale of the sports industry compared with 2020 and increase the sector's added value to about 2 percent of the city's GDP.
Huang Haiyan, professor at Shanghai University of Sport, said that the overall growth of sports in Shanghai is directly related to improving living conditions as more and more Chinese people pay greater attention to their health. Huang said that demand for sports goods and services in Shanghai is not only strong but also diversified. Huang, though, cautions that the newly launched plan is both an opportunity and a challenge.
In addition, a shortage of young industry talents is a nationwide issue. "We need to keep improving the integration of education with industry, and to cultivate more young industry talents," Huang said.
Source: China Daily