March 24, 2011 marks the one-year celebration since China's State Council, the highest executive organ of China's central government, historically issued the "Guiding Opinion on Accelerating the Development of Sports Industry in China", an official document designed to transform the nation's sports industry.
"The release of the guiding opinion indicates that the sports industry in China was elevated to an unprecedented height of a strategic position at the national level, manifesting the Chinese central government's resolution to transform the sunrise industry," Liu Fumin, director-general of the Department of Finance of the General Administration of Sport, told People's Daily online at the one-year milestone.
According to the guiding opinion, a balanced development of recreational sports and competitive sports is promoted; both domestic and foreign private investment in China's sports industry are actively encouraged, and market exploration of sports performance and recreational sports should be put into action to a greater extent; cultural and sports exchanges and cooperation with foreign countries will be intensified.
While the opinion seems to be highly constructive, the key lies in whether the government is in a position to work out specific practical policies and put them into practice.
"China's sports industry has achieved much over the last 12 months," said Liu. "The General Administration of Sport has been working on the guiding opinion's follow-up policies, especially in the field of sports tourism."
The policy on sports tourism is likely to be put in place later this year, said Liu.
At regional level in China, some local governments have already come out with related concrete policies.
"Since the release of the guiding opinion, some practical corresponding policies have been worked out and distributed by the local governments," said Liu. "For example, in the aspects of supporting funds and tax deductions, a fair amount has been accomplished."
Over the last five years, China's sports industry has ridden on a high-speed train with its growth rate keeping up a pace of above 16%, emerging as a new bright spot in national economy.
Looking ahead to the next five years, Liu believes the "golden journey" has only begun.
"I think during the 12th Five-year Plan period, more favorable policies and business opportunities for the sports industry in China will come out, particularly in the domain of sports performance and recreational sports," Liu remarked. "The General Administration of Sport will collaborate with other related ministries to ensure that the sports industry takes a sound development path in the coming years."