(Yicai Global) Sept. 27 -- China's winter sports and related sectors have developed rapidly with the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics held in Beijing, but the country still has great need of specialists.
The industrial chain of skiing, where Beijing Antaeus Ski Resort Investment & Management's focus lies, is short of professionals in operational management, development and construction, training, software, marketing and planning and other areas, as are other winter sports companies, Wang Song, the firm's deputy general manager told Yicai Global.
"We have run a general statistical survey. It shows that the numbers of staff responsible for management with over 20 years' work experience is less than 50, and that of skilled technicians and managers with more than 10 years' experience is under 300 in all ski resorts nationwide, he said.
The number of licensed coaches within the country's skiing field is 9,200, but it is facing a future demand for 32,000. The current situation cannot satisfy the needs of 703 ski resorts in China and the skiing sector is thus in a state of 'anemia,' Wang added.
The lack of technicians for winter sports facilities is often ignored, apart from the deficiency of managers and coaches.
Technicians are essential for winter sports. The professional maintenance of a ski chair lift system requires at least three or four people to act as team leaders, electrical technicians and repairers. The short-term training provided by China Ropeway Association is the only official and professional course to cultivate these specialists, but it is not enough to feed market demand on such a large scale and makes it hard to recruit.
Overpaid, but Not Over Here
Slope grader drivers typically earn CNY8,000 (USD1,182) to CNY10,000 per month, while demand drives wages of highly-skilled operators to from CNY15,000 to CNY20,000 -- higher than some middle managers' salaries -- and supply still falls short, he said.
The numbers of personnel that the Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics Zhangjiakou venue north of Beijing needs to organize sporting events, cross-country skiing, ski jumping and Nordic combined is 1,407, 1,283, 1,082 and 1,164, respectively, and 1,281 for snowboarding and freestyle skiing, a total of more than 6,200 people, Zhu Zhiqiang, Dean of Harbin Sport University told Yicai Global.
"Practice demonstrates that cultivating and training specialists through cooperation between different provinces, universities and firms or China and other countries for China's winter sports is effective and combining the efforts of firms and universities is innovative," Zhu explained.
Harbin Sport University in Northeast China struck a deal with Beijing Enterprises Holding, which is building facilities for the 2022 Winter Olympics, to cooperate in cultivating specialists this year. "The parties are actively working together to construct training bases and foster skilled staff responsible for maintenance of facilities for Alpine Skiing and Bobsleigh and Tobogganing in the Yanqing [north of Beijing] 2022 Winter Olympic site," Zhu said.
Will China definitely need more winter sports specialists after the 2022 games? Zhong Bingshu, Dean of the Capital Institute of Physical Education, replied in the affirmative.
Hot, Cold Sports
The public will be more enthusiastic about winter sports after the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will result in larger demand for relevant specialists, Zhong told Yicai Global.
China's developing economy lays a good base for winter sports and the related industries and educational agencies' removing burdens for Chinese students will spur them to participate in outdoor sports, Zhong said.
Winter sports will gradually become the growth mainstream among all outdoor activities in future, not only in northern China, but also in the south, Zhong predicted.
Editor: Ben Armour