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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Sailing industry thrives in regatta venue of Beijing Olympics

(Xinhua)

14:06, February 22, 2012

QINGDAO, China, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- With the sport becoming more and more popular for local citizens, sailing industry is thriving in Qingdao, east China, the sailing venue of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Thanks to the Olympic sailing events, there are already 28 sailing clubs, four training facilities and four manufacturers of sailboat now in Qingdao, said Lin Zhiwei, head of local sports association.

Sailing was strange for local citizens before 2008, but many of them began to learn it after the Olympics. So clubs and manufacturers tried to meet the need, Lin said.

"Members of our club used to learn sailing by renting yachts, but three quarters of them purchased their own yachts after the Olympics," said Qu Chun, manager of the Qingdao International Marine Club.

Up to date, ten thousand youngsters have attended sailing training programs initiated by local government and 105 thousand adults have had sailing training in Qingdao.

"We have a club member increase of 10 percent per year after 2008, and the club managed to get two million yuan (316.7 thousand dollars) income last year, a five-time increase compared with 2007," Qu said.

Qingdao Runlong sailboat Co. Ltd. made its first sailboat in 2002 and sold it only for 40 thousand yuan with little profit to a French merchant who worked in Shanghai.

"I didn't know where to sell my boat at the time, but now our sailboats are sold all over the world, including East Asia, Australia and Latin America," said Bao Tongwei, manager of Runlong.

"When people want to buy sailboat, China's Qingdao will come to their mind due to its famous Olympic sailing events. Thus, sailboat manufacturers of Qingdao have a greatly potential market," Bao said.

Bao told Xinhua that he has purchased his own workshops instead of renting, and the output value of his company will hit 10 million yuan this year.

Zou Zhi's parents started their sailboat manufacturer in 1986 in Qingdao, and 95 percent of its products are exported.

"I am putting much more efforts in domestic market in the last four years," said Zou, who began to run the business in 2001.

"Most of the Chinese people haven't got to know about sailing, and the potential domestic market is huge," Zou said.

"Chinese people thought vehicle was luxury for them, but private cars are everywhere now. I believe sailing is also going to be popular across China, as it is such a wonderful game," Zou said.

China has a very long coastline and sailing can be held both in sea and lakes, so sailing industry is a sunrise industry in China, according to Runlong's Bao.

Qu Chun suggested government to put more investment in sailboat ports and clubs to let people know about sailing in the initial stage.

"It is better if television programs, newspapers and news websites could get more sailing introduction, then people will know sailing isn't hard to learn and will enjoy it," Bao said.

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