The winter sports industry in China is now worth over $50bn (€45bn), the local organising committee for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games has told an International Olympic Committee Evaluation Commission.
Beijing was awarded the Games on the back of a bid campaign which promised to use the opportunity to significantly grow winter sports in the country, with a target of encouraging 300 million Chinese to take up some form of winter sport.
The winter sports economy has contributed to the creation of 1.5 million jobs in China, the Evaluation Committee was told, as the number of ski resorts in the country rose to 742 and the number of ice rinks to 596 by the end of 2018.
In total, the sector was worth $53.6bn (£42.7bn/€47.7bn) in 2018, up 16 per cent over the $46.2 billion (£36.8bn/€41.1bn) valuation in 2017.
The work going into preparing Beijing for the 2022 Games was also leading to an increase in winter sports events – over 4,400 were held at district, municipal or national level in 2018, engaging 8.15 million people.
The Evaluation Committee also heard that China was now planning to bid for further major international winter sports competitions in the future.