The Chinese sports industry is expected to surpass three trillion yuan (US$460 billion) by the end of 2020, according to the nation’s newly released five-year sports development plan.
In the plan, which covers the 2016 to 2020, China’s State General Administration of Sports states: “China’s overall sports industry turnout will be surpassing three trillion yuan, accounting for 1% in GDP with the added value of sports service taking up 30% in the overall sports industry”.
Key elements of the plan focus on football, with the aim to have 50 million regular players backed by 70,000 pitches across the country – averaging one pitch for every 20,000 people.
As previously announced, China also plans to have 20,000 football academies by 2020.
The plan also lays out the blueprint for nationwide fitness programs, setting goals of building 500 new public fitness centres in counties and 15,000 fitness facilities in villages and towns.
In addition, 10,000 more multi-functional playing grounds will be constructed in cities, averaging 1.8m² of recreational space per person by 2020.
Against a backdrop of this massive growth in sport, China is facing an obesity crisis with, as of 2014, about one in six boys and one in 11 girls being definded as obese.
Image shows one of China’s new football academies.