China’s Local Leisure Industry Continues to Grow

In a recently released report compiled by the National Academy of Economic Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, it was noted that leisure consumption accounted for more than 6 percent of China’s gross domestic product, and over 15 percent of China’s total retail sales of social consumer goods, with consumption reaching nearly 2.9 trillion yuan in 2011. The 2012 China Leisure Industry Development Report was compiled at the request of the China National Tourism Administration’s Comprehensive Coordination Department and revealed that as the incomes of Chinese citizens grows, their demand for leisure-related products and services is becoming more diversified, with their leisure consumption rising steadily.

This growth has been boosted by the efforts of the China National Tourism Administration, together with other government agencies. A document detailing Guidelines on Travel and Leisure in China was started in 2010, with a draft version now complete. With China focusing on domestic economic growth through the improvement of people’s livelihoods, a series of policies were put in place for promoting domestic leisure, which will continue through 2012.

A driving force behind this growth is the increase in investment opportunities, with local private investment exceeding 1 trillion yuan. Moreover, leisure service providers in the domestic market are working at creating an integrated industry geared toward leisure consumption, rather than operating in different areas as is currently the case. These companies include the Wanda Group, Evergrande Group, HNA Group, Poly Culture Group Corporation, China National Travel Service Group Corporation, Huayi Brothers Media Corporation and Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd.

Various provincial governments are also developing tourism and leisure strategies. Shandong‘s province-wide promotion “Let’s Play in Friendly Shandong” in August, September and October 2011 proved to be a big success, with Guangdong, Zhejiang and other local governments following suit. Between September and November 2011, Hangzhou province hosted the World Leisure EXPO 2011 with the theme “Leisure, Enhancing the Quality of Life”. By all accounts the event achieved its goal of associating leisure with wellbeing, and the continual emergence of new leisure concepts shows that people are open to embracing new opportunities for social interaction and taking time out for entertainment and leisure.