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  • | 22 January, 2018

    China’s ski boom and the decline of mature markets worldwide

    Two thirds of China’s territory are covered by mountains up to 8000 meters high. Yet despite favourable climate conditions, skiing only took-off in the mid-1990s when China’s earliest ski area, Yabuli, in the country’s northeast, hosted the Winter Asian Games in 1996. Now, China has more ski areas than the United-States, Japan or Canada, all mature markets where ski practice is now decreasing. China, by contrast, is the only country worldwide where skier visits are increasing. Fuelled by the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, ski areas are mushrooming everywhere across the country, even in the south-western provinces bordering Vietnam. China is pouring billions of investment to develop the industry, with the official goal to have 300 million fans of winter sports by 2022, compared to only 12-15 million today, and 1000 ski resorts, compared to 646 currently. On the eve of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, please join us with Swiss consultant Laurent Vanat for a discussion on China’s winter sports boom and what it means for the country. Vanat will give a snapshot of major industry figures and a take a closer look at China’s fledging ski market and what China can expect in South Korea


    Laurent Vanat is an independent consultant with skills as a general practitioner and a specialist. With a Master’s degree in commercial & industrial sciences from the University of Geneva, he has over 30 years of professional experience as both a business consultant and a senior executive in upper management. Heavily involved in the tourism, hospitality & leisure industry, Mr. Vanat has closely followed the ski area industry for numerous years. In his search for information on ski areas, Mr. Vanat quickly understood the importance of tracking skier visits and collecting statistical data. Noting the difficulty in consolidating this information for the Swiss market, he found a way to contribute to the industry by taking the initiative to start a systematic collection of visitor data and publishing an end of season report. Since winter 2004/05, this document has been recognized and important reference for Switzerland. In order to analyse the competitive position of major players in a wider perspective, he extended the scope of the research to produce an overview of the key industry figures worldwide. For several years now, the International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism has become a reference in the industry, conferences and TV interviews.

    DATE: 22nd Jan (Tuesday) 10-11:30am
    VENUE: To be confirmed
    ENTRANCE: 100 for non-members, free for FCCC members

    Speaker | 15 December, 2017

    Protecting Chinese nationals overseas: the coming end of non-interference

    A decade ago, few would have predicted the direct involvement of the PLA Navy in a non-combatant evacuation operation overseas. Yet this happened in Yemen in March 2015 and accelerated the decision to open a “logistics support base” in Djibouti – two major ruptures with the traditional foreign policy of the PRC. The use of military power is now clearly part of China’s toolbox when it comes to situations involving the security of Chinese nationals overseas. Just like rejecting having military bases overseas was part of China’s identity in international politics until the decision to build Djibouti was taken, the protection of nationals overseas is now an entire part of China’s foreign policy in Xi Jinping’s “new era”. How should such a rapid transformation be explained? And what are its consequences for international security?


    ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Mathieu Duchâtel is Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and Deputy Director of ECFR’s Asia and China program. Before joining ECFR, he was the representative in Beijing of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (2011-2015). He has co-authored a book on the protection of Chinese nationals overseas, China’s Strong Arm, Protecting Chinese Nationals and Assets Abroad, IISS, Adelphi, Routledge, 2015.