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Lacking Sponsors, Guangzhou Asks Beijing for Help on the 2010 Asian Games

“No one can avoid the influence of this economic crisis, and we are no exception,” Zhang Guangning, the mayor of Guangzhou in China’s Guangdong province told media recently.  “We have some difficulties in developing stadiums and finding sponsors,” said the mayor. The 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games (2010广州年亚运会) will need 50 stadiums, 20 training facilities and 10 back-up stadiums, of which 12 new stadiums are to be built. The city will also kick off new infrastructure projects including a train station and speedways connecting the stadiums.

The Games will be held from November 11 to 27 in 2010. With 20 months left, Fang Da’er (方达儿), director of the marketing department of the Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (GAGOC), said they have so far raised RMB 2 billion (roughly $ 292 million USD). “It’s only two thirds of the total funds needed for the Games, and we can’t guarantee more sponsors would come to us in a short term.” Mr.Fang is afraid that their potential sponsors may lose interests in the Games as the economy crisis prevails in the country. China’s exports plunged by 26 percent in February, as compared to a forecast of 5 percent decline. Its imports fell by 24 percent. “There’re already some companies cancelled their sponsorship plans,” Fang noted.

Xu Ruisheng (许瑞生), vice mayor of Guangzhou and executive deputy secretary general of GAGOC, submitted a proposal at National People’s Congress, the legislative house of China, on March 11 that named “To Support the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Game and the Para-Asian Games by Using the Advantages of the System,” asking the central authority to help solve their financial headache. With unparraled central power, China can expend a great deal of money in a very short period of time. The Beijing Olympics cost at least $ 40 billion USD and the government recently claimed that they made a profit of $ 16 million USD.

Guangzhou won the bid of hosting the 2010 Asian Games in 2004 after its three fellow bidders – Amman, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul – withdrew from the competition. The Games will be co-hosted by Foshan and Shanwei, its two neighboring cities from November 12 to 27. The Para-Asian Games will be held from December 12 to 19, 2010.  For next year’s Games,  GAGOC has already decided to keep the torch relay within China for frugality’s concern.

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