Beijing gets kudos for its financing of Olympics
Taiwan's delegate to the Games' global body praises the public tender system
Beijing has been praised for its financing of the 2008 Olympics, with a member of the event's international organiser allaying fears of empty hotels and stadiums in the capital when the games begin.
Wu Ching-kuo, Taiwan's sole delegate on the International Organising Committee, said Beijing's organisers were creating 'Olympic history' by seeking out investors for its staging of the event and offering public tender contracts to build and run venues for the event.
'This saves the government a lot of worry over the finance, maintenance and management of the various Olympic stadiums,' he said.
Mr Wu, head of the engineering and construction division of the IOC's Beijing Games co-ordination commission, made the comments during a visit to Changsha for the Chinese City Games.
'The most important thing is that the stadiums won't become white elephants.'
Thirty-seven stadiums and gymnasiums will be used for the Olympics, and all but five are in the capital.
Eighteen of the stadiums and gymnasiums are already in use and will only need to be upgraded and refurbished.
The remaining 19 will be built from scratch.
To date, contracts to finance, build and operate seven main stadiums have been put out to tender and two principal contracts have already been awarded.
In August, a consortium led by the China International Trust and Investment Corp won the tender for the National Stadium, the central arena for the games.
The consortium will raise 42 per cent of the estimated 3.5 billion yuan (HK$3.2 billion) needed to construct the stadium.
In return, the consortium will be awarded a contract to manage the stadium for 30 years after the games end.
The contract for the Wukesong Culture and Sports Centre has also been awarded. Bidding is under way for contracts for five other projects: the National Swimming Centre, the Olympic Village, the Conference Centre, the Beijing Rural Horseracing Centre and the National Gymnasium.
The director of the committee's policy department, Han Xiaofang, was quoted by Xinhua as saying the winning companies would 'raise funds and build and operate stadiums for profit with guidance from the government.'