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Chinese investors upbeat on looming sports industry boom

Updated: 2016-05-23 13:33
By Yan Weijue (chinadaily.com.cn)

China's 5 trillion yuan ($763.5 billion) sports industry is on the advent of a "golden era", agreed top industry professionals at a symposium in Beijing on Wednesday.

The figure was set in a guideline issued by the State Council on Oct 14, 2014 to promote the development of the sports sector on a national level over the next decade.

Chinese investors upbeat on looming sports industry boom

Investors weigh in on investment prospects in China's sports industry which is estimated to generate an output value of over 5 trillion yuan by 2025. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn] 

The sports industry has seen an influx of capital from key market players and newcomers seeking to acquire top-tier sports IP rights and new markets, according to Han Mu, founder and CEO of sports business news outlet Lanxiong Sports, the host of the symposium.

Le Sports, who this year owns a plethora of coveted broadcasting rights, including the UEFA championships League, Chinese Basketball Association, Association of Tennis Professionals and Chinese Super League, has ambitions to "create a new lifestyle befitting China's middle class", says its chief operating officer Yu Hang.

Industry-wide efforts are required to raise the profile of sport in China, according to Zhang Junhui, president and chief executive of Beijing China Open Promotions Limited. Zhang said that a mature management system, thoughtful services for players and audiences, integration of different culture and publicity of sports knowledge and etiquette are needed.

The country has seen wave of sport-related startup businesses since 2015. Financial backing totaling 17.4 billion yuan has been secured by 257 startups, according to a white paper on the sports industry released by Lanxiong Sports on Wednesday.

Fitness, e-sports and soccer are most bullish areas, says the report. Companies associated with the three sports have received 39, 34 and 24 investments respectively since 2015. Two other popular sections of the industry include smart hardware and running.

Sports in the eyes of the young generation means more than fitness and represents a new lifestyle and value, requiring higher consumption demands, said Liu Qin, partner of Morningside Ventures.

"We feel like there is a bright future ahead for the sports industry. The length of the golden era could be much longer than a decade," he said.

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