Visitors at a ski resort in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province. (Photo/China Daily)
China Coal Zhangjiakou Coal Mining Machinery Co Ltd, one of the country's leading manufacturers of coal mining equipment, said it was confident that a newly-made investment in the alpine and winter sport business sector would turn out to be fruitful.
Based in Zhangjiakou in northern China's Hebei province－the co-host city of the 2022 Winter Olympics, together with Beijing－the State-owned company established a joint venture earlier this month with a French partner to manufacture equipment for winter sports events.
"Making equipment for snow events can allow our factories to vary the range of their products, promoting our transformation and upgrading," said company director Li Guoping.
Playing host to the Winter Olympics has made Zhangjiakou a hot spot for develop-ing China's winter-related sports, the company believes.
The group, whose financial fortunes to date have been underpinned by traditional industry, said it had now found a new growth engine and was seizing the opportunity to set foot in the snow business.
Its partner－MND Group－is a French company that develops ski resorts and ski-related equipment.
Their joint venture, MND Zhangjiakou Mountain Development Co Ltd, will this year start manufacturing equipment used for the winter and alpine events, including cable cars and snowmakers.
"Our partner has positioned itself in the ideal place for the snow economy in China," said MND Chairman Xavier Gallot-Lavallee, commenting on the group's first investment in China.
The venture could help MND enlarge its markets in Asia, said Gallot-Lavallee, adding that China was an emerging market for ski equipment and snow-related facilities.
The joint venture has signed two contracts with another two local companies for developing ski resorts and making cable cars in Zhangjiakou.
It is classified by the city as a key member of an industrial park that was specially developed for manufacturing ice and snow sports equipment.
The park will bring in more equipment makers from home and abroad to form an industrial cluster for the research and development, manufacture and trading of winter sports equipment, according to a blueprint (2016-22) for the city's future development of ice and snow sports.
"In preparing for the Olympics, Zhangjiakou will strive to establish a whole industrial chain for the ice and snow sports in the next few years," said Wu Weidong, mayor of the Zhangjiakou.
The blueprint estimated that by 2022, the output value of the city's sports industry, which is led by ice and snow sports, will reach 27 billion yuan ( billion).
The opportunities are being evaluated by companies from home and abroad, which have started investing in the hot spot with the hope of having a share in the burgeoning snow economy.