Beijing plays down Olympics effect on the economy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 July, 2008, 12:00am

Beijing's hosting of the Olympic Games is not expected to have much impact on overall growth in the world's fourth-largest economy, according to a government official.

Li Xiaochao, a spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics, said it had been a trend for host countries of Olympics to enjoy quicker growth in the run-up to the Games, but the economic impact varied, depending on the size of those economies.

'Hosting the Olympics will always help to stimulate the host country's economy somewhat, but as to the trend of growth, it depends on the fundamentals of the economy,' Mr Li said in a media briefing on the economy in the first half in Beijing yesterday.

He said the impact of the biggest sporting event on economic growth was clearer in smaller economies but less on big economies.

Mr Li cited South Korea and the United States as two different examples.

Korea had seen annual economic growth of more than 10 per cent in the years leading up to Seoul's hosting of the Olympics in 1988.

But Los Angeles' hosting of the Games in 1996 had not brought about faster growth as the US economy expanded only 2.5 per cent in 1995, 3.7 per cent 1996 and 4.5 per cent in 1997, Mr Li said.