As the 19th Asian Games draws near, anticipation is reaching a fever pitch in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang province. This sporting event not only promises exhilarating competition but also serves as a powerful catalyst for the Asian Games economy. The Asian Games are not just about athletics; they are an economic powerhouse that is attracting increased domestic and international orders and driving culture and sports consumption to unprecedented heights.
Hu Fangjun, the general manager of a sports goods manufacturer in Yiwu, a prominent small commodities hub in China, has been on the front lines of this economic surge. His factory can produce over 1,000 footballs daily, and yet this capacity is still insufficient to meet the soaring demand. In fact, overseas orders are projected to extend well into the year’s end, with emerging markets outpacing traditional European and American markets. The regions experiencing the most remarkable growth in orders are Southeast Asia and South America.
Customs data attests to this impressive growth, revealing that in the first seven months of the year, Yiwu exported sports goods worth 4.21 billion yuan ($577.4 million), marking a substantial 24.6 percent increase compared to the previous year. Among these exports, 1.42 billion yuan worth of sports goods were destined for Asian countries, an increase of 12.7 percent year-on-year. This data underscores the vast potential that the Asian Games economy holds, not only for the host city but also for the broader Chinese sports industry.
Domestic market’s resilience
The excitement surrounding the Asian Games is not confined to international markets alone. Within China, the enthusiasm for fitness and physical activity remains robust. Sports products, from gear to accessories, are experiencing robust sales. Ji Tingting, an official from Zhejiang ROCKBROS Sports Goods Co Ltd, reports that even with the company operating around the clock, some of their top-selling products are still out of stock. This highlights the extraordinary appetite for sports-related merchandise in the domestic market.
Beyond the realm of sports goods, the Asian Games is poised to have a ripple effect across multiple sectors. It is expected to drive consumption in various domains, including accommodation, catering, shopping, tourism, transportation, culture, and entertainment. As the games unfold from September 23 to October 8, Hangzhou is preparing to welcome more than 20 million visitors, according to the Hangzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, TV, and Tourism. This influx of visitors will undoubtedly boost revenues in hospitality, dining, retail, and more, fostering economic growth across diverse industries.
The 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou is not merely a sporting spectacle; it is a transformative economic force. The Asian Games economy, fueled by surging demand for sports goods and elevated culture and sports consumption, has captured the attention of the world. As this exciting event unfolds, it promises to bring prosperity not only to the host city but also to businesses and industries across China. The legacy of the Asian Games extends far beyond the medal count, leaving an indelible mark on the economic landscape of East China’s Zhejiang province and the nation as a whole.