World Sports City Forum: Elites Convened in Guangzhou to Offer Insights for Development

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 10:34 PM CST

GUANGZHOU, China, Dec. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- On November 26, the World Sports City Forum· Guangzhou was successfully held during the 2021 China Sports Culture Expo and China Sports Tourism Expo (CSCTE). The conference is organized by Asia Data Group. Among the guests were  prestigious figures such as Wu Linbo, Deputy Secretary General of the People's Government of Guangzhou Municipality, Ouyang Ziwen, Director-General of Administration of Sport of Guangzhou, Kenneth Fok, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Vice President of Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, Jennifer Xu, CEO of Asia Digital Group, Ingmar De Vos, FEI President, IOC member, and IHSC President, Andreas Zagklis, Secretary General of FIBA, Gianni Merlo, President of International Sports Press Association, Vlad Marinescu, Director General of the International Judo Federation, Jason Ferguson, President of World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association, Chen Yibing, Olympic Champion, Associate Researcher of the College of P.E. and Sports, Beijing Normal University, Founder of GetMoving, and Initiator of Chen Yibing Special Fund for Physical Education, LIU Xin, Sports Finance RC, PBCSF, Tsinghua University, Wei Pengju, Deputy Director of the Academic Committee of Tsinghua University's Institute of Cultural and Creative Development, Tony Qi, Managing Director of MLB China, Zhang Haibo, CEO of Future Mind, Pual Hyett, Partner of Vickery Hyett Architects, Chen Hailiang, Royal Chartered Architect, Design Director and Co-founder of Creative Prototyping Unit Design Firm, Lindsay Johnston, Partner of Pattern Design, Luke Harrison, Deputy Director of Pattern Design, and Xu Baibo, General Manager of Public Affairs of NetEase Games. They were joined by promising sports stars such as Chen Aisen, Gold Medalist of Diving Men's and Men's Synchronised 10M Platform in the Rio Olympic Games, Yang Jinghui, Gold Medalist of Diving Men's Synchronised 10M Platform in the Athens Olympic Games, Liu Tingting, Flat Crossbar Champion of World Gymnastics Championships in Doha, and Xiong Jingnan, ONE Championship Women's Strawweight World Champion of Mixed Martial Arts.

In the context of the vigorous development of China's sports industry, this event shed light on Guangzhou's strategic plan of shaping itself into a "world sports city". The guests enthusiastically shared their insights on core topics such as creating a new calling card for the city through sports events, ushering in a new chapter for the city through the means of digital sports, enhancing the city's soft power with "new sports infrastructure", promoting the development of industrial integration through sports, and integrating sports culture with Guangzhou's ethos.

At this forum, the Research Report on the Sports Spending of Cities in China was jointly released by the Sports Finance RC, PBCSF, Tsinghua University and Asia Digital Group. The report pointed out that a trillion-RMB market of sports spending had been shaped in China, with the spending power of first-tier cities in sports, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, continuously rising, and that the ever-expanding market is paving the way for the rapid development of the sports industry in China.

Building a Sports Power: Seizing New Opportunities for the Development of a Sports City

To shape a more people-friendly sports power where facilities are more accessible and events are more popular, cities should be equipped with a more modern sports governance system and governance capabilities, and city managers need to put in place new sports development mechanisms adapted to the times. Such requirements provide the perfect opportunity for the building of a "world sports city".

Wu Linbo, Deputy Secretary General of the People's Government of Guangzhou Municipality, delivered a speech at the forum, fully appreciating the strategic significance of a "world sports city" in promoting urban economic development, enhancing the city's international influence, and bolstering the upgrading of local sports industry. He said that Guangzhou has always vigorously supported the development of sports leagues and mass sports activities, and has zealously hosted a number of international and intercontinental events to organically integrate the growing trend of sports around the world and the philosophy of the international sports industry with the development of Guangzhou. In the future, Guangzhou will embark on a new journey of digitalization and scientifically plan the development of the sports industry. For example, it will strive to leverage the influence of events to create a calling card for itself as a sports city. In addition, the city will upgrade its sports infrastructure and create an inviting atmosphere for sports fans to reinvent itself in urban development.

Kenneth Fok, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Vice President of Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, delivered a video speech, fully appreciating the role of a world sports city as a window for the world to further understand China. He said that the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games has proved the tremendous influence of sports events in the dissemination of cultural values. In 2022, a milestone for the development of the sports industry in China, many cities in the country will host a number of comprehensive sports events with global influence. These momentous events will not only promote the overall upgrade of the sports industry, but will also substantially contribute to the development of cities, paving the way for China to become a pivot of excellence in sports.

Jennifer Xu, CEO of Asia Digital Group, mentioned in her speech that thanks to the People's Government of Guangzhou Municipality's efforts in sports over the years, sports culture has now become one of the drivers for Guangzhou's endogenous development. She believed that the 15th National Games to be held in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in 2025 will be another major development opportunity for Guangzhou; and that the initiative of building Guangzhou into a world sports city will rejuvenate the city to lead the integrated development of sports, economy, culture, and technology in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Taking Events as an Opportunity: Creating a New Calling Card for the City Through Sports Events

Ouyang Ziwen, Director-General of the Administration of Sports of Guangzhou Municipality, said that events are the core of the entire sports industry, and holding high-profile sports events has become the most effective way of building a "world sports city". He also expounded on Guangzhou's measures of "building the city into a world sports city in accordance with China's strategy of building a sports power". He pointed out that large-scale events have played a significant role in promoting the construction of the "world sports city". In recent years, Guangzhou has directly promoted the development of catering and tourism, commodity sales, logistics and transportation by hosting international and intercontinental events. For example, the GDP directly and indirectly generated by the "Guangzhou Marathon" events is estimated to reach RMB 940 million, exerting positive impact on urban development.

According to Ingmar De Vos, FEI President, IOC member, and IHSC President, three of the Chinese equestrian athletes in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics are from Guangdong, which speaks volume to Guangdong's input into sports. He believed that Guangzhou has everything that it takes to become a "world sports city". For example, Guangzhou is currently one of the core areas of the equestrian sports in China, and many events with international influence are held in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Guangzhou has the potential to host world-class equestrian events in the future.

Andreas Zagklis, Secretary General of FIBA, said that the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China was the largest tournament ever held by FIBA. Half of the eight host cities are in Guangdong. The province's time-honored basketball tradition, excellent sportsmanship and profound basketball culture have made a lasting impression on FIBA.

Gianni Merlo, President of International Sports Press Association, believed that sports events will become more important in the post-COVID-19 era. He said that sports events were held during the pandemic even there were no spectators, and that we could still watch exciting matches on TV at the comfort of our homes, which brought us confidence and hope for combating the virus.

Taking judo as an example, Vlad Marinescu, Director General of the International Judo Federation, shared his insight on how sports can boost a city's kinetic energy. He said that judo, as an educational sport, not only improves the fitness of participants, but also helps them establish social values, which are essential to urban development. In addition, judo is an amazing sport that can reach a large audience. Many cities vie to hold judo events to increase their influence and promote the development of regional economy.

Tony Qi, Managing Director of MLB China, explained to the guests the potential of baseball in China by analyzing the data of American professional baseball games. His presentation provided new ideas for Guangzhou to build a world sports city. He said that baseball, as a skill-savvy sport, is perfect for promotion in Asia. Given its widespread popularity in Guangzhou, MLB hopes to join hands with the People's Government of Guangzhou Municipality and Chinese companies to build a world-class club like the "New York Yankees" in Guangzhou and help baseball games take root in China.

Realizing Fitness-for-All through Integration: Building a Role Model of Urban Development and Sports Development

The ultimate goal of building a "world sports city" is to serve its citizens. While enhancing the people's fitness, such an initiative can help increase the popularity of sports and inject new vitality into consumption in a city. In the process of building a "world sports city", it is necessary to give full play to the role of market players, explore new business operation models, explore financing channels, and jointly promote the upgrading and optimization of the sports industry.

To this end, Jason Ferguson, President of World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association, shared his experience of promoting snooker events in China. He said that the Snooker China Championship, part of the Snooker International Ranking Tournament, has been held in Guangzhou for four consecutive years. Thanks to the substantial support of the People's Government of Guangzhou Municipality, snooker has been gaining popularity in China. Against such a backdrop, Ferguson hopes that snooker can be further embedded into the genes of Guangzhou. He believed that the publicity of exciting events will give the world a glimpse of Guangzhou's long-standing culture and beautiful urban landscape, thus opening up more channels for international exchange.

Wei Pengju, Deputy Director of the Academic Committee of Tsinghua University's Institute of Cultural and Creative Development, shared his insight into the creation of a role model of urban development and cultural progress in the process of building a "world sports city". He said that the era of digital economy has given rise to new phenomena, development ideas and models for the integration and development of sports brands and urban culture and economy. For the development of the sports industry, he proposed a series of measures, such as increasing the utilization of space in sports infrastructure, exploring innovative ways to use infrastructure, searching for sustainable business operation models, developing a self-media matrix, and increase the number of active fans in events. Moreover, Wei put forward the idea of hosting high-profile and high-caliber events and expanding the commercial operation of events by branding sports events and launching creative cultural products. He advocated giving full play to the leading role of the market, and promoting capital operation in the process of building a sports city.

With regards to the popular e-sports culture in recent years, Xu Baibo, General Manager of Public Affairs of NetEase Games, described the plans of this internet company in the e-sports industry. He said that NetEase Games will bring e-sports events from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Eastern China to the southwest and northern regions to build prestigious e-sports brands. The company will continue to explore new ways for youths at home and abroad to communicate and spread Chinese culture, and strive to become a new ambassador for the overseas dissemination of "Chinese stories".

Among the guest speakers were Chen Yibing, an Olympic champion, Associate Researcher of the College of P.E. and Sports, Beijing Normal University, Founder of GetMoving, and Initiator of Chen Yibing Special Fund for Physical Education, Yang Jinghui, Gold Medalist of Diving Men's Synchronised 10M Platform in the Athens Olympic Games, Chen Aisen, Gold Medalist of Diving Men's and Men's Synchronised 10M Platform in the Rio Olympic Games, Liu Tingting, Flat Crossbar Champion of World Gymnastics Championships in Doha, and Xiong Jingnan, ONE Championship Women's Strawweight World Champion of Mixed Martial Arts. The champions accentuated the significance of building a "world sports city" from the perspective of professional athletes, and shared their views on how the commercial upgrading of sports events can extend the career longevity of professional athletes and facilitate industrial upgrading.

Building Infrastructure and Promoting Innovation with Digital Technology: Ushering a Bright Future for Cities Through Construction of New Infrastructure and Digitalization

Building a "world sports city" requires not only a broad population of enthusiasts requires and high-caliber events, but also innovation in the development of infrastructure and the application of sports-related technology.

On the forum, first-tier city designers, such as Pual Hyett, Partner of Vickery Hyett Architects, Chen Hailiang, Royal Chartered Architect, Lindsay Johnston, Partner of Pattern Design, and Luke Harrison, Deputy Director of Pattern Design, jointly delivered a keynote speech on building an urban "sports complex". Through sportsmanship and a city's ethos. Striving for progress is the common pursuit of sports and any city, and the guarantee for success. An city that is inclusive and diverse is bound to grow ever strong. With the vision of building itself into a world-famous sports city, Guangzhou is proactively pushing forward the development of sports. To conclude her speech, Liu hoped that Guangzhou realizes its goal soon .

Chen Aisen, Gold Medalist of Diving Men's and Men's Synchronised 10M Platform in the Rio Olympic Games, believed that sports appeal to more and more people as their popularity grows. As an Olympic champion trained in Guangzhou, he is grateful to the city. Chen believed that such a city with profound sports culture would become a world sports landmark in the near future.

Yang Jinghui, Gold Medalist of Diving Men's Synchronised 10M Platform in the Athens Olympic Games from Guangzhou, said in his speech that "Faster, Higher, Stronger" is the well-known motto for competitive sports, and should be the pursuit of any city. He also accentuated the similarities between sportsmanship and a city's ethos. As Guangzhou vigorously promotes the construction of a world sports city, people from all walks of life bear witness to a boom of the local sports industry, and the momentum will keep growing stronger.

The core topic of building a "world sports city" has prompted in-depth deliberation of all parties on aspects, such as how cities hosting large-scale sports events can boost their economy, how to shape these events into the calling card of cities, how to operate venues, how to integrate the development of  sports and other industries, and how to visualize the digital transformation of the sports industry. Ending on a successful note, the forum is a source of inspiration for developing sports events, innovating the sports industry, and accelerating the transformation of industrial structure.

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SOURCE Asia Data Group

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