The Alisports arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has joined forces with the International Ski Federation (FIS) in a move designed to raise the popularity of the sport in China ahead of the winter Olympic Games in Beijing in 2022.
The FIS said the partnership will seek to increase the number of winter sport participants in China from 15 million to 300 million by 2022. Skiing's global governing body will work with the Beijing Sports University and the Chinese Ski Association to drive its initiatives.
The ‘Get Into Snow Sports – China’ development programme will be central to the campaign. The FIS will work with its academy and the World Academy of Sport to deliver certification systems for the programme, with Alisports to handle the marketing, promotion, selling and organisation of the courses.
Sarah Lewis, FIS secretary general, said: “Over the past 15 years we have seen the organic growth and popularity of snow sports in China with many innovative events such as the FIS Big Air and Aerials World Cup events hosted in the Birds Nest. This grassroots ‘Get into Snow Sports’ development programme builds on the work FIS has achieved through our ‘Bring Children to the Snow’ campaign and the annual ‘World Snow Day’ and the Chinese Ski Association’s engagement in these initiatives is a key driver in taking this important step to create ‘Get into Snow Sports – China’.
“The opportunity presented is also unique given the dimension of the Chinese population and we are poised to take a significant step in enhancing the global number of snow sport participants through the ‘Get Into Snow Sports – China’ programme. We very much look forward to further initiatives and activities that we will be exploring in partnership with Alisports and the Chinese Ski Association.”
Alisports founder and chief executive Zhang Dazhong added: “Chinese skiing has seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of consumers and with the effort to turn 1 million consumers into 300 million winter sports enthusiasts, sports training will be an integral part in making this dream a reality. (The) ‘Get into Snow Sports’ programme will focus on standardised scientific training to turn one-and-done consumers into consistent sports practitioners. This partnership will look to provide better opportunities for even more ordinary people to embrace the winter Olympics spirit, to fall in love with snow, to fall in love with exercising.”
The FIS becomes the latest international federation to partner with Alisports. The company also lists Fina, the global governing body for aquatic sports; the International Boxing Association (Aiba); the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) among its partners.