The Olympic Games and the Development of Beijing
The preparations for an Olympic Games accelerate the host city's economic development as they greatly increase the demand on the construction of the city's infrastructure, ecosystem, electronic technology and other capabilities. A case in point is South Korea. During its preparations for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, its economy enjoyed an annual growth rate of 12. 4% from 1981 to 1988, and its GDP per capita increased from US $2,300 to US $6,300.
Boomed by the Olympic Games, South Korea realized the transformation from a developing country to an industrialized economy. Ln light of this, we have every reason to believe that preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will also have a significant impact on the economic development of the city.
With Beijing's successful Olympic bid, many experts have anticipated the almost certain positive effects the Games would have on Beijing's economic growth. It is estimated that the investment and consumption demand spurred by the Olympic Games will lift the capital's GDP growth by an additional annual rate of l. 67% on average between 2002 and 2007. By 2007 the city's GDP is expected to reach RMB 590 billion, and the GDP per capita around US $ 6000 - approaching that of Seoul's when it hosted the summer Olympic Games in 1988.
Since the Beijing Olympic Action Plan was approved, construction-related investments on infrastructure and the ecosystem have been increasing steadily. With respect to environmental protection, a 120 km2 green belt was built in 2002, and the green projects alongside 5 rivers and 10 main roads were also completed. More than 40 high-pollution factories were moved out of the city proper, and 16 forested areas including the Changpu River Park and the Ming City Wall Park were built, with a total area of 104 hectares. In addition, there are now over 3. 63 million square meters of new lawns, increasing the capital's total lawn area to 50 million square meters.
Furthermore, the city's efforts in cleaning the Qinghe and Liangshui rivers have already produced positive results in environmental protection.
With respect to transportation infrastructure, the newly constructed Fourth-Ring Road is already open to traffic. The No. 5 subway line, with a total investment of US $ 1. 45 billion, will be completed and put to operation in 2006. By 2008 eight additional light railway routes will have been completed, extending the total length of the intra-city rail network to 300 km.
Progress has also been made in the preservation of historical and cultural relics and sites. In the past few years, the Beijing municipal government has invested over RMB 2 billion in the construction of cultural facilities. In the next 5 years, an additional US $75 million will be contributed exclusively to the preservation and renovation of historical and cultural relics.