RESEARCH ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF CHINA’S SPORTS INFRASTRUCTURE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF GEO-ECONOMY
[2. Економічні науки]
Автор: Medvid V., Doctor of Economics, Professor, Faculty of Economics and Management, Sumy National Agrarian University;
Zhijiang Yu, PhD student of management, Faculty of Economics and Management, Sumy National Agrarian University
Abstract: This article uses literature, historical analysis and other methods to conduct an in-depth analysis of the status quo and strategic significance of China's sports infrastructure construction from the perspective of geo-economics. After that, based on the "One Belt One Road" initiative, it analyzed the advantages of China's sports infrastructure construction from the aspects of production capacity, talents and finance. Finally, this article puts forward several suggestions for the sound operation and healthy development of China's sports infrastructure construction projects from the perspective of geo-economics, and provides useful references for the implementation of China's geo-strategy.
Keywords: Sports infrastructure industry, geo-economy, the Belt and Road Initiative, advantages.
Sports infrastructure industry is refers to production and engineering facilities of residents' sports activities for providing public services. It is to develop the basic material conditions of sports activities. Sports infrastructure industry includes both tangible material engineering facilities, such as sports venues, sports equipment, etc., and the invisible engineering facilities, such as information networks, supporting services. Sports infrastructure industry is an important carrier of the development of sports undertakings and sports industry.
In summary, the scale and level of development of sports infrastructure construction is a window that reflects the outlook and strength of a country (or city). However, due to the urbanization level of countries along the Belt and Road is generally low and unbalanced regional development and small average size of cities, the level of infrastructure which includes sports infrastructure construction is low. Therefore, the construction of sports infrastructure plays an important role in the "One Belt One Road "initiative which is currently China's national geo-economic strategy.
2 The Development Status of China's Sports Infrastructure Construction from the Perspective of Geo-economy
Pradeep Srivastava argues that intensive infrastructure investment lasting several years is usually required in regional economic cooperation (Srivastava, 2011). During the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has provided a large amount of infrastructure assistance to countries along the routes, including roads, railways, power grids, telecommunications networks and dams. In addition, China has also made remarkable achievements in the construction of sports infrastructure around the world. The huge modern building is not only a tangible carrier of China's assistance, but also a testimony to the friendship between the two countries and China's national image. The scholars even called this kind of Chinese economic aid as stadium diplomacy (Dubinsky, 2021; Vondracek, 2019).
Among all the foreign aid, the stadium construction is one of the important achievements of China's foreign aid. According to statistics, China has built more than 50 sports venues in Africa which are distributed in Tanzania and mozambique, equatorial guinea, Cameroon, Ethiopia, mozambique, buick, cape Verde, Congo, Zambia, Guinea, Malawi, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Comoros, Zimbabwe, Togo, Benin, etc. In addition to Africa, the achievements of China's "stadium diplomacy" also include: national football stadium and swimming pool in Belarus, the Bahamas national stadium in Croatia, the national stadium in Costa Rica, Apia park stadium in Samoa, the Pacific games stadiums in Solomon islands, and the national stadium in Cambodia. However, it should be emphasized that China's stadium diplomacy is based on "equality and mutual benefit which without any political strings attached". In contrast to traditional Western aid, such as loans that require clarity of purpose or some democratic reforms, China's economic and technical assistance, and subsidized loans make the Chinese model attractive to policy makers.
3 The geostrategic significance of sports infrastructure
Under the framework of economic and technical assistance, by the ways of interest-free loans, concessional loans or even China's free assistance, the needs of sports infrastructure along the Belt and Road are met to the greatest extent. The geostrategic significance of sports infrastructure industry is reflected in the following aspects:
Firstly, China's sports infrastructure industry can promote economic and social development and improving people's livelihood in countries along the Belt and Road. The construction of stadiums and gymnasiums can not only drive the construction of supporting urban infrastructure projects, but also improve the development of tourism, catering, leisure and entertainment industry and transportation industry in the region. In addition, the sports infrastructure industry can expand the employment demand, and provide impetus for economic growth and population aggregation.
Secondly, upgrading the sports infrastructure industry to a geographical industry is conducive to the implementation of China's foreign policy and the realization of geostrategy goals. For example, during a large-scale and multi-year sports infrastructure assistance project, no matter how many changes are made in the relevant policy systems and mechanisms of China, China's efforts and policies and commitments to friendly relations between the two countries are unchangeable.
Thirdly, the attributes of space-time, technology, artistry and nationality in a architecture are usually bound to reflect the spirit of the designers and builders, such as the thoughts, concepts and wills. As large buildings or super-large buildings, sports infrastructure which built by Chinese is bound to be stamped with Chinese cultural symbols, as well as sculpture of Chinese spirit and materialization of Chinese consciousness. Therefore, its signature, legacy and influence are unmatched by other projects.
4 The advantage of sports infrastructure industry upgrading to geographical industry
4.1 Capacity advantages
Specific statistics show that in 2017, the added value of the construction industry reached 5,568.9 billion yuan, with an average annual growth rate of 16.6%. The value added of the construction industry accounted for 6.7% of GDP. In 2017, there were more than 300,000 construction enterprises of various types, with 55.3 million people employed by the end of the year. A large number of architects, senior management personnel and engineering and technical personnel who with both international vision and national confidence are emerging. In the same year, China's sports construction industry created an added value of 15.9 billion yuan, a year-on-year growth of 20.00%, nearly 3 percentage points higher than the national construction industry (Xiao, 2019). Labor productivity reached 91,854.78 yuan per person, 46.41% higher than the national construction labor productivity, showing a large space for development.
China has also accumulated rich experience in the construction of complex stadiums such as Beijing National Stadium and the Olympic Center, especially in the hosting of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The specialization and refinement of sports infrastructure technology have been continuously improved, and the technical conditions have become increasingly mature. According to the increasing and changing demand for stadiums and gymnasiums in China, The State Council issued Several Opinions on Accelerating the Development of Sports Industry and Promoting Sports Consumption in 2014. Especially, in recent years, centering on the theme of smart venue construction, domestic stadiums and gymnasiums rely on the Internet, 5G, artificial intelligence and other renovation, centering on advanced technology to promote smart venue renovation. On the whole, China's sports infrastructure construction and development capacity has become internationalized and high-tech (Jiang & Zhang, 2017).
At present, Chinese technological advantages also bring a huge cost advantage. By learning from the experience of developed countries, the advanced technology patents with Chinese intellectual property rights have reduced the costs greatly. Furthermore, China's capacity to produce raw materials for infrastructure projects, such as steel and cement, has surpassed the world average (Zhang & Yu, 2019). The domestic steel and many other related industries even have serious overcapacity. All these bring huge cost advantages for Chinese enterprises to participate in sports infrastructure construction in countries along the Belt and Road.
4.2 Human resource advantages
The capacity advantage of sports infrastructure also brings the surplus of human resources in related fields. This provides sufficient talent complement for the strategic infrastructure construction of the Belt and Road initiative. In recent years, as the pace of sports construction enterprises to go abroad quickens, a large number of Chinese engineers and technicians go abroad to participate in infrastructure construction projects around the world.
4.3 The financial advantages
As a social infrastructure, sports infrastructure, especially the large-scale sports infrastructure, is a quasi-public good with obvious spillover effect, and the simple market-oriented financing mechanism is bound to fail (Ni, 2006). Therefore, a large number of project capital needs and significant spillover effects lead to the failure of the market mechanism. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out corresponding pioneering capital investment to lay the foundation for the follow-up funds, so as to guide more funds to participate in the construction of large-scale sports infrastructure.
China has more than 3 trillion foreign exchange reserves overseas, among which us dollar reserves account for a large proportion. It is very convenient for China to invest in sports infrastructure in neighbourhood. More importantly, the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund has provided long-term and huge capital investment, including equity investment and financing and other financial support, for sports infrastructure (Jia & Qiu, 2016). The establishment of the New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is a major innovation and beneficial supplement of the multilateral development financial system.
5.1 According to the sports industry and socio-economic development of the country, analysis and demonstration of the location, transportation, economic development, and population agglomeration level of the area where the venue project is located. Especially as long-term and legacy projects like stadiums, the grovernment must insist on full scientific demonstration and evaluation of these projects.
5.2 Paying full attention to the innovation of sports infrastructure awarding and construction methods. In accordance with the principle of “pragmatic, cooperative, and win-win” foreign aid, appropriate improvements should be made to sports infrastructure assistance projects. For example, in terms of scale, it is no longer the first to seek largeness, new and more, but to strengthen the maintenance and expansion of the original venues and the renovation of facilities. Part of the use of interest-free loans or preferential loans, to maximize the need for assistance and construction.
5.3 Enhancing the Chinese impression of sports infrastructure construction projects. Paying more attention to show the Chinese elements which can tell the Chinese story show the China's image through these infrastructure.
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