Asian Games 2023
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Hangzhou is preparing to host the Asian Games. Photo: Mandy Zuo

Asian Games in Hangzhou will be ‘frugal’, China says, in country’s biggest sport event since Covid-19

  • Organisers say most venues have been used before and will be used after the event finishes
  • The games are the largest event of their kind to be held in China since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic
China has vowed to host a frugal and cost-effective Asian Games as it started the one-week countdown to its biggest sports event since the Covid pandemic.

The host city, Hangzhou in the eastern province of Zhejiang, will receive over 12,000 athletes and has prepared 56 competition venues for the event, according to local authorities.

Xu Bin, deputy director of the event’s publicity department, said the games would be “as thrifty as possible”.

Some 44 of the venues were upgraded from existing ones, and most of them will be put in commercial use after the games, he told reporters on Saturday.

The event was originally scheduled to take place last year but was postponed for a year due to China’s stringent Covid controls, which were then abruptly reversed.

The Games are one of the world’s biggest multi-sport events, and the most important event of their kind to take place in China since the lifting of Covid restrictions.


Organisers have already spent about 10.2 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) on venues for competitions and training, according to the China News Service.

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Hangzhou is the third Chinese city to hold the Asian Games, after Guangzhou in 2010 and Beijing in 1990. The Chinese capital has also hosted the Summer and Winter Olympics.

“The amount of money we spent is relatively low. We tried to renovate existing venues first before building new ones, in the hope of cutting as much cost as possible,” said Xu.

Of all the competition venues, 54 have been confirmed for commercial use after the games, he said.


“There’s no possibility for them to be idle. Many people will choose to host meetings or even weddings there after this event, because the Games will make them prestigious places,” he said.

All the apartments in the Asian Games Village have been sold to homebuyers beforehand and will be delivered to them after the Games and Para Games next month, organisers say.


“All venues for the games will use clean energy, mainly electricity from wind and solar in the northwest, which will significantly reduce carbon emissions,” Xu said.

While the total costs of the event are unknown, the Zhejiang provincial bureau of statistics said in 2021 that the city had invested 224.8 billion yuan in infrastructure, including venues for the event, between 2016 and 2020.

The Games are estimated to help generate about 414.1 billion yuan of gross domestic product during the period, the study said.


“Hangzhou and its neighbouring areas will enjoy a significant rebound in consumption and travelling thanks to the games,” said a research note by Huachuang Securities earlier this month.

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Forty-five nations and territories in Asia will compete for 483 gold medals from 40 sports, including esports which are making their debut in the Asian Games, according to the organisers.

These include the first North Korean athletes to appear in an international competition since the start of the pandemic, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Taiwan has also said it will send a team under its Olympic banner of Chinese Taipei.