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Merchandise embodies Olympic spirit, Chinese culture

2022-01-18 10:26:00CHINA DAILY

Beijing 2022 mascots Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon are among the Olympic merchandise items flying off the shelves as the Winter Games approach. CHINA DAILY

As an integral part of the Olympic marketing program, licensed merchandise serves as an ambassador of the Olympic spirit and the host nation's culture. Beijing 2022 is no exception.

"We hope that licensed merchandise can manifest the Olympic spirit and Chinese culture," Piao Xuedong, head of the marketing department of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG), told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"A part of the revenue from licensed merchandise sales is being used to help organize the Olympics, which leads to a closer bond between consumers and the Games," he added.

Holding a set of pins inspired by China's Four Classic Novels in his hands as an example, Piao explained: "We are endeavoring to exhibit the characteristics of traditional Chinese culture through licensed merchandise and tap into those elements related to sports and Chinese New Year."

The Chinese New Year for 2022 falls on Feb 1, three days before the Winter Games open in Beijing.

According to BOCOG, over 5,000 licensed merchandise items, classified into 16 categories, have been designed and produced over the past four years, and more than 190 licensed merchandise retail stores have opened across China.

Yan said that much of the merchandise is an excellent representation of Chinese culture, and is perfect souvenir material for people interested in the Winter Olympics.

Beijing 2022 launched its marketing program in February 2017 and has signed a total of 45 sponsors and suppliers despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We aim to deliver both economic and social benefits in our marketing program. We have accomplished some milestones and withstood the challenges brought about by the pandemic," said Piao.

In the face of the pandemic, BOCOG has adapted some of its communication methods with stakeholders but still pushed ahead with its marketing plan as scheduled, Piao noted.

"One example is the application of a teleconference system developed by one of our official suppliers," said Piao. "We used this system to conduct our teleconferencing for over 40,000 hours, which has improved our work efficiency amid the pandemic," he said.

Beijing is set to become the first city to host both the summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games. Piao said that the Beijing 2022 marketing program is based on the successful practice of the 2008 Games while also advancing with the times.

For him, the biggest challenge has been striking a balance between the stakeholders and ensuring fairness, equity and openness in the process of soliciting marketing partners.

"With less than one month to go until the Beijing Winter Olympics, we will continue to focus on our partnership plan, licensed merchandise plan and brand protection, and make due contributions to delivering 'simple, safe and splendid' Games," said Piao.

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