Beijing: China has cut down the budget for its 12th National Games by a hefty 78 per cent as the once booming economy has slowed down with no respite insight.
The total funding for the 12th National Games will be reduced to no more than 800 million yuan (USD 130 million) which is a huge drop of 78 per cent than the previous budget which was 3.6 billion Yuan (USD 590 million), said the Games` organising committee.
China in the past hosted national and international sports events including the Beijing Olympics with lavish settings and spending. But now the era of high spending on lavish events appears to be a thing of past.
"For the opening and closing ceremonies, stadium construction, the torch relay and all other segments of the National Games, we strive to create, hopefully, a fresh fashion of organising big events in a thrift manner and reaping practical achievement at the same time," said He Min, deputy director of the organising committee of the Games to be held in China`s northeastern Liaoning Province.
The number of competition and training venues is reduced from 129 to 117. And only 10 stadiums are newly constructed for the Games, accounting for 8.5 of the total venues, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The opening and closing ceremonies will also be delivered in a "frugal" manner. Since its inauguration in 1987, the Games will feature its opening ceremony for the first time during the daytime, which will result in a clean cut of the expense for lighting and fireworks.
In addition, the organisers pledge to get rid of redundant arrangement of the Games, namely the cancellation of a series of conferences and exhibitions, and the combination of awarding ceremonies for contributory institutions and outstanding individuals.
Furthermore, the number of foreign guests to be invited for the Games will be reduced by half, with neither welcome banquets nor souvenirs for them.
The squeeze on the sports budget came as China`s trade outlook got worse as exports dropped for the first time in 17 months putting pressure on the growth prospects of the world`s second-largest economy. Exports dropped 3.1 per cent in June from a year earlier, the first decline since January last year while imports went down 0.7 per cent.
Total foreign trade, the main stay of the Chinese economy shrank two per cent year on year to USD 321.51 billion in June. China`s economic growth eased to 7.8 per cent last year, the slowest since 1999. It slowed to 7.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 from the 7.9-per cent expansion logged in the fourth quarter of last year.
Till 2010, Chinese economy grew in double digit numbers and since then continued to slowed down and expected to contract further this year, putting pressure on jobs and livelihoods.