BEIJING, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government has announced plans to develop the country's sports industry and raise the sector's annual output to 5 trillion yuan (813.87 billion U.S. dollars) by 2025.
The State Council, China's Cabinet, unveiled measures to accelerate the fast-growing industry's development and get people exercising on Monday.
Promoting fitness will become one of the government's national strategies, the State Council said in a policy document.
By 2025, the sector aims to become a major force of sustainable social and economic development, with full support for a wide number of sports.
The document laid out goals of per capita area of sport grounds reaching 2 square meters by 2025 and people that exercise regularly reaching 500 million. The country's public sports services will cover all its population.
According to data from the General Administration of Sports, China's average area of sport facilities stood at only 1.2 square meters per person by the end of 2010, much lower than neighboring countries like Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Meanwhile, distribution of facilities are not balanced between regions, grassroots sports facilities took a relatively small proportion compared to large stadiums, and utilization rate of facilities was also low.
Liu Peng, head of the sports administration, said that incomes rise, Chinese people are also pursuing higher life quality.
"The notion of investment in health is taking firmer root among the people and physical fitness is gaining more attention," Liu said, adding that China needs to further unleash the potential of the sports market.
The document said China will support the emerging sector by eliminating industrial and policy barriers to form a policy system that is conducive to the sector's rapid growth.
China will get rid of regulations that hinder the sector's development, scrap unreasonable administrative approval procedures and open all fields that are allowed by existing laws and regulations to the public.
The country encourages social capital to invest in the industry, including construction of sports facilities and providing related products and services, the document said.
It will also expand the opening up of the sector by encouraging foreign capital to invest in the domestic sports industry.
Liu Fumin, director of the sports economy division of China's sports administration, said the moves will fully unleash creativity and vigor of social capital, boost the sports sector's growth and stimulate Chinese people's demands for sports, leisure and fitness.