Delivering big thrills on a budget
Torch bearers take part in the opening ceremony for the Second National Youth Games at Shanxi Sports Center Stadium in Taiyuan last Thursday. Despite being produced on a tight budget, the high-tech show was an enthralling spectacle. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]
Shanxi showing that cutting costs need not mean cutting quality
Last Thursday night's spectacular opening ceremony of the Second National Youth Games had a wow factor befitting a major world championships.
For the 30,000-plus spectators at Shanxi Sports Center Stadium and tens of millions of TV viewers who tuned in to witness the stunning show, it looked as though expense had been spared.
But looks can be deceiving.
The ceremony was extravagant in appearance only, with organizers cutting costs by resisting the temptation to sign up a single celebrity or stage a grand fireworks display.
Instead, state-of-the-art virtual-reality and intelligent-robot technology was employed to amaze.
Hosting an economical Games has been an overriding principle of the organizers from the beginning, according to Zhang Fuming, vice-governor of Shanxi province.
"First of all, we had very strict rules," he said. "The Second National Youth Games is the biggest and most comprehensive sports event that Shanxi province has ever organized.
"During the preparation, we devised clear financial regulations and rules to prevent any chance of spending unnecessary money.
"Secondly, we made a strict budget plan to make sure the money was well spent. We utilized what we have instead of building or buying everything new. After we finalized the budget plan, we stuck strictly to it, without exception.
"We also attracted sponsorship in terms of facilities, equipment, medals, transportation and communication services. From the support of all parties, the sponsorship totaled 420 million yuan ($60 million)."
An additional 30 million yuan was saved by the organizing committee's decision to base itself in an old government building.