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China Sees Explosive Growth in Skiing

by John Symon

May 18, 2017 (Beijing, China) – There has been explosive growth in the Chinese ski industry in recent years a reports Sixth Tone. In 2013 there were 408 ski resorts in China versus 646 in 2016, with 78 of these being completed last year alone. Part of this growth can be explained by increased interest as China readies itself to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, but increased affluence among Chinese consumers is credited as well.

While the focus of the report is alpine, cross-country skiing is also mentioned as increasing in popularity. Climate zones along China’s coast approximate the the Atlantic coast of the USA. Geographically, most of the ski resorts are located in China’s northeastern provinces but some can also be found throughout much of the country now.

[P] China Ski Industry White Book
Per capita income in China is approaching $8,000 USD, a point at which the experience in developed countries has shown a sharp increase in spending on leisure sports. Many companies are betting big sums that China will follow the path of developed nations. While the country only counted 15 million skiers in 2016, predictions are that China will soon see 100 million skiers on its slopes annually. The value of the winter sports industry is supposed to reach 600 billion yuan ($87 billion USD) by 2020 and surpass 1 trillion yuan (almost $200 million CDN) by 2025.

Domestic companies are investing heavily into skiing with Vanke investing more than 40 billion yuan in the Songhua Lake Ski Resort in northeastern China. Chinese tourism operators are also working with the Swiss National Tourist Office to publish China’s first skiing guide. Despite the opportunities, there are still major challenges and profitability in the Chinese ski industry seems to lag far behind market size and investment. Wanlong Ski Resort, near Beijing, became profitable in 2015 for the first time in 11 years of operation, but its profits were less than 10 percent of the facility’s operating costs according to the report.

Sixth Tone article in full here.

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