Are there any Japanese ski brands
Chinese investors want to buy domestic ski brands. This is confirmed by several entrepreneurs who work in the winter sports industry. The Olympic Winter Games will take place in Beijing in 2022. Chinese investors sense good business in their own country. The know-how for this should come from Austria.
The managing director of Fischer Sports, Franz Föttinger, speaks of several investors who would have knocked on him in Ried im Innkreis. However, they did not want to buy skis, but the whole company, says Föttinger. As spokesman for the Austrian ski industry, he told Ö1 that many investors from China are currently visiting the local ski manufacturers Blizzard, Atomic, Head and Fischer. Föttinger speaks of a “gold rush mood” that is currently making itself felt among Chinese investors. The reason for this are the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing in 2022.
Government promotes skiing
The Chinese government wants to bring 300 million Chinese to winter sports by the time of the Olympics. According to Föttinger, there are currently five million active skiers on the slopes of China. Investors sensed good long-term business here, but they lack the necessary know-how in the winter sports sector. Apparently they didn't just want to import this from Austria, but prefer to buy it straight away, as the takeover bids to ski manufacturers showed, according to Föttinger.
Investors are interested in ski manufacturers
Second hand skis from Japan
Although Fischer Sports rejected the takeover offer, Föttinger still speaks of possible business deals with China. At the moment, mainly second-hand material is imported from Japan in the ski sector. Some of the skis are very old and don't even have a carving sidecut.
Lack of ski instructors
There was also a lack of competent ski instructors in China, adds Föttinger. Many Chinese have tried skiing, but the ski instructors are often unable to inspire their students to enjoy it. Part of this is because teachers are not very good at skiing themselves. Föttinger speaks of a 100 percent drop-out rate for beginners. The efforts of the Chinese ski areas were to adopt ski instructor standards from Austria.
Ski lift in Zhangjiakou
Need for lifts and snow cannons
New ski areas are currently being planned in China. Industry representatives confirm that there is also demand for lifts and snow cannons from local companies. The Salzburg company Axess, for example, received three large orders from China last year. Axess sells chip cards and access systems for ski areas. Oliver Suter from Axess says that the hype surrounding the Winter Games is making skiing popular among the Chinese population.
Trade fairs are currently being organized at short notice to present ski clothing, sports equipment or new lifts. Suter says that the government is clearly pushing for skiing to be established, for example by encouraging state-affiliated companies to invest in the winter sports industry.
New winter sports locations are springing up - here in Zhangjiakou
Beijing is not supposed to become Sochi
China wants to avoid Beijing suffering the same fate as the Russian city of Sochi. For the 2014 Winter Games, Russia has built new ski areas and hotel resorts out of the ground. Two years after Sochi, however, it turns out that these facilities are hardly used and some of them are in disrepair. China is currently a promising market for Austrian companies, said Suter. In order to establish good contacts, domestic companies launched the Winter China Network with Chinese partners last year.
Investments in the Salzburg ski area
A Chinese investor caused a sensation in the Salzburg winter sports scene two years ago. The entrepreneur from the precious metals and tourism industry already owns ski resorts in China and thus participated in the Beijing Olympic bid. In 2014 he took over shares in the Gaissau-Hintersee ski area. This enabled the ski area to make urgently needed investments. In return, it was important for the investor to receive information about the process and organization of winter sports events.
Raffaela Schaidreiter, Ö1
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