Austria will work harder to tap business opportunities in the Chinese market, the largest in the world with 1.4 billion consumers, said Friedrich Stift, the Austrian ambassador to China, at a medal presentation ceremony for Huang Geng, chairman and general manager of BC Sports, in Beijing.
"A lot of our Austrian companies are small and medium-sized so they don't have enough staff to do market research," the ambassador said.
Huang Geng is a great support to Austrian companies, especially in winter sports, and he is supporting many initiatives by providing advice from his experiences, and he also provides financial support, Stift said.
To honor Huang's contribution to business communication and cooperation between Austria and China, Stift, representing Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, granted Huang Geng the Republic of Austria's silver medal of honor in Beijing.
Huang said he considered it not only an honor but also a responsibility, as he identified great cooperative opportunities between Chinese and Austrian companies in the sports industry, including lifting and equipment manufacturing companies.
Matching partners is the most challenging part of doing business for both Chinese and Austrian businesses, and different cultures and mentalities are also challenging as people have to find the right way to bridge the gap between Western and Eastern mentalities, Huang said.
Huang said he would work hard to build up a bridge for further cooperation between China and Austria in the sports industry.
With the increasing consumption capability of Chinese consumers, the Chinese market provides two important opportunities for international businesses, said Wang Ping, deputy director of the Sports Equipment Administrative Center of China General Administration of Sport.
One is the demand to purchase a large amount of outdoor sports equipment and the other is to travel abroad to experience a beautiful ice and snow environment, Wang added.
Emanuel Lehner-Telič, regional manager for Asia at the Austrian National Tourist Office, agreed with Wang and expressed his optimism for the future.
"We are very optimistic for the future, especially for the Olympic Games in 2022, which is very important for us because Austria is a very big winter sports nation. We have a lot of winter opportunities in Austria for skiing and other outdoor activities," Lehner-Telič said.
The number of Chinese tourists to Austria was only 200,000 10 years ago and it increased to over 950,000 last year. One million Chinese are expected to visit Austria this year, Lehner-Telič said.
China's sports industry has developed very fast in the past five years. The added value of the sports industry accounted for 1 percent of China's GDP in 2018 and the percentage is expected to reach 4 percent by 2035, according to the "Outline for Building a Leading Sports Nation" by the State Council.