29 Mar Shenzhen University Games – A Business Opportunity Beyond Athletics
The world university games are coming to Shenzhen, China’s most successful city has finally stepped up to the plate and is making its first foray into becoming a cultural centre as well as a business one. The first thing any visitor to the city will notice is the amount of time and effort invested in this event, there are posters everywhere, countdown clocks and subtle branding exercises all over the place.
While Guangzhou may have captured the more well known Asian Games, Shenzhen feels it has won the real prize. The Universiade is the world’s second largest athletics tournament, eclipsed only by the Olympics (which have also been held in China recently). So from August the 12th2011 to the 20ththere will be a huge influx of visitors from all over the world, with over 160 countries represented at the games it’s going to be a busy week.
It’s a great achievement for the local government who are keenly aware that the focus on developing the Pearl River Delta region from central government is now dimming as more attention is paid to building economies in the poorer interior regions of China. Firstly it’s been good for local businesses already as new facilities have been constructed and existing ones overhauled to provide 13 world class venues for the sports themselves.
Then there’s the cleaning and polishing of the city, almost every building has been (or is being given) a lick of paint and a thorough wash too – giving everyone a burst of civic pride.
More importantly though it’s good for businesses in Shenzhen and for those looking to base themselves in the city too. The games themselves are an enormous enabler for networking opportunities, Shenzhen’s economy is based on young high technology industries and the city is home to companies such as Foxconn, BYD (Build Your Dreams), Huawei and ZTE among many others.
The youthful vibrancy of the university audience will make a perfect fit for recruiters looking to attract talent to Shenzhen, as well as offering a significant amount of access to universities around the globe. In particular companies who are looking to make contacts within top research and development facilities are likely to be very welcome when networking games associated events.
Take this in conjunction with relaxation of rules making it easier for investors to put their money into the region, and supporting partnerships with local companies in particular (Shenzhen is one of the few cities in China to offer independent body support to foreign investors including ZAEFI the Shenzhen Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment and SZCIIF the Shenzhen Chamber of International Investment and Financing). And the sky’s the limit for how a simple athletics competition can open some serious in roads into the fastest developing economy in the world.
If other competitions staged in China are anything to go by then Shenzhen’s games are likely to be very, very impressive in their own right, but for smart investors they offer many more promising returns too.