Thanks to good relations with Qatar, China has been tasked with making a major contribution to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Several elements of the sporting event, which opened to much fanfare on November 20, have been developed by companies Chinese, ranging from stadiums and souvenirs to renewable energy vehicles.
Perhaps China’s most significant contribution was its role in the development of the Lusail Stadium, the main stadium of the World Cup this year. In 2016, the China Railway Construction Corporation won a $764 million contract to build the stadium, which will host the opening ceremony and 10 matches, including the final, in a joint venture with Qatar’s HBK.
The Lusail Stadium was built in the coastal city of Lusail, north of Doha. the stadium was built with a membrane that covers an area of 45,000 square meters, and has a capacity of 92,000. This reported as the largest membrane structure in the world. The Lusail Stadium was officially handed over in December 2020 and since then been introduced on the newly issued 10 Qatari riyal note, an encouraging sign for the Chinese government.
China has also been involved in the construction of other World Cup stadiums in Qatar. For example, in the Ciudad Educación Stadium, the steel structure was done by a Chinese company. The same goes for Stadium 974, which is made from 974 recycled shipping containers, some of which were supposedly originally from China.
In addition to the stadiums, China has also been involved in the construction of the renewable energy infrastructure for the tournament, in particular the Al Kharsaah solar power plant. This plant was built by Chinese companies in a desert area about 80 kilometers west of Doha, and is capable of generating 800 megawatts of power, providing one of Qatar’s main sources of energy for the World Cup.
Chinese is also involved in the construction of container houses designed to house visiting football fans. Since Qatar has only about 11,000 square kilometers of land, the Qatari government has been forced to build some 6,000 container houses to accommodate tournament attendees. This residential area, known as the ‘Villa de los Fans’, offers accommodation to around 12,000 people. Fans are also provided with bus transportation services to and from the World Cup venues. These buses, which include 1,500 buses and 888 electric buses, have also It has been done in China.
Chinese companies are among the largest. sponsors of the tournament According to the London-based information services company GlobalData, sponsorship income from Chinese companies stands at $1.4 billionexceeding 1,100 million dollars from US companies.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, China is also the source of lots of memories that FIFA has produced for the World Cup. These include flags, soccer shoes and foosball machines, as well as replicas of the tournament’s official trophy, which are being produced by Dongguan Wagon Giftware company in Guangdong province. Souvenirs of La’eeb, the official mascot of the 2022 World Cup, have also been handed out. produced in Dongguan.
At least four factors explain China’s close participation in the 2022 World Cup. The first and most obvious is the strong relations that have developed between China and Qatar in various sectors. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1988, the two countries have developed strong bilateral relations. China is currently one of Qatar’s main trading partners and qatar is one of the main sources of China’s energy imports. Bilateral trade continues to grow strongly. In 2021, it reached a high point of $17 billion, up 57 percent compared to the prior year. Over the past 10 years, China has also raised its investment in Qatar, acquiring significant stakes in key infrastructure and energy projects.
The second reason is that even though China did not qualify for the World Cup, many Chinese fans have traveled to Qatar for the event: between 5,000 and 7,000 tickets have been sold. bought by Chinese citizens, and China has one of the largest television audiences of the World Cup in the world. This has offered the Chinese government the opportunity to demonstrate to its people that their country can make an important contribution to a prestigious world event.
The third reason is that China’s participation in the World Cup offers an opportunity for the commercialization of its national companies. For China, sponsorship is a way of introducing their brands to the global market, and it is a source of pride that Chinese products are exhibited alongside more established global brands.
The fourth reason concerns China’s long-term ambitions. In 2011, a year before he became president, Xi Jinping announced the ambition to qualify for the World Cup, host the World Cup, and eventually lift the trophy. To that end, China has laid plans develop 70,000 soccer fields and 20,000 training centers, and the construction of at least 12 football stadiums by 2030.
In this sense, the Chinese government’s involvement in the preparations for the Qatar 2022 World Cup is a bridge to a longer-term achievement: namely, one day hosting the tournament itself.