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French firms net China ski deals

A man skis during Lunar New year holidays at the Jundushan Ski resort in Beijing. AFP/Mark Ralston

French winter sports companies announced deals last week with firms in China, where skiing is becoming popular ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

China has 200 ski resorts and between five and six million skiers.

The number is expected to grow rapidly ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The country aims to have 1,000 ski resorts by 15 years and about 300 million Chinese people are expected to take up winter sports.

"This is obviously a major challenge [for French equipment suppliers] and the potential is huge," said Laurent Wauquiez, president of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regional council, while visiting Beijing last week.

"Chinese people are tackling what we’ve been accomplishing since the 70s [in the Alps]. That deserves respect."

French equipment suppliers

The Compagnie des Alpes (CDA) has expanded its partnership with China's Thaiwoo Ski Resort, so that the French leisure company's staff will help to run the operation on an almost permanent basis.

Skilift and cable railway maker Poma, whose headquarters is in Isère, owns a factory in Beijing.

Last week the company reached a deal worth 200 million euros over five years to provide Thaiwoo resort with skilifts.