Twenty-first Century "maritime Silk Road" and the international communication platform

Guangxi-ASEAN Sports Exchanges & Cooperation Yield Fruitful Results

2023-09-01 09:45:40   By:China-ASEAN    Hits:

Written by Zhong Shuangxia / Translated by Chen Yijia

On the day of the Lantern Festival in 2023, the atmosphere was quite convivial in the Dongxing Stadium of Fangchenggang, Guangxi. A friendly football match between Dongxing of China and Mong Cai of Vietnam kicked off on that day after 3 years of COVID-induced suspension. The match was successfully held for 28 sessions and has become a practice of the two sides, which is a microcosm of long-term and unfailing sports exchanges and cooperation between Guangxi and ASEAN countries.

Over the recent years, Guangxi and ASEAN countries have engaged in more frequent sports exchanges and cooperation, displaying a trend of systematic development. The two sides have jointly hosted various classic matches and established many cooperative institutions, which have become crucial platforms for Guangxi and ASEAN countries to strengthen exchanges, promote friendship, and facilitate development.

Sports events forge a closer bond between the two peoples

Both China and ASEAN countries have abundant folk traditional sports resources, and the relationships among different sports are steeped in history. All sports, such as Vietnamese martial arts and chess, Malaysian and Singaporean traditional lion dance and dragon boat race, bear the stamp of Chinese traditional culture.

With the further implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the entry into force of the RCEP Agreement, China-ASEAN sports exchanges and cooperation have been flourishing and ushering in a golden age of opportunities.

As the permanent venue of China-ASEAN Expo and a platform at the forefront of ASEAN-oriented opening-up and cooperation, Guangxi has yielded fruitful results in the sports exchanges with ASEAN countries. Both official and non-governmental sports activities have been in full swing.

Building a series of China-ASEAN brand events has become a new calling card of Guangxi's sports for international exchanges. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), Guangxi's sports circles were proactive in the construction of BRI, made great efforts to build Guangxi into a key regional events center embracing the world, especially ASEAN countries, and carried out international exchanges upholding that high-level opening-up is a strategic measure to promote development.

Focusing on ASEAN countries, more than 50 international sports events are held in Guangxi every year, among which over 20 events are China-ASEAN Series. A batch of influential international events, including China-ASEAN International Touring Assembly, China-ASEAN International BMX Race, China-ASEAN Mountain Marathon, China-ASEAN Wushu Festival, and China-ASEAN International Dragon Boat Invitational Race, has bridged China with ASEAN countries, strengthening bilateral friendship.

The 2023 China-ASEAN International Canoe Open Tournament was held on June 21. Cheng Fushen, an Indonesian student from Nanning College for Vocational Technology who participated in the men's 200-meter straight race, said that it was the first time that he engaged in a sports event in China. "I felt exhausted halfway through the competition. But getting involved is more important than the ranking. I want to join in a dragon boat race when the traditional festival comes," Cheng shared. A total of 32 international players from 11 countries including Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, as well as Chinese professionals and amateurs, were attracted to the competition, chasing each other on the Yongjiang River.

The 2023 China-ASEAN International Canoe Open Tournament was held on June 21, 2023. (Source: official website of Bureau of Sports of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region)

Furthermore, non-government al platforms for sports exchanges between Guangxi and ASEAN countries have been improved gradually. Although the Beilun River separates Guangxi and Vietnam, the two sides are connected by the same mountains and rivers, as well as share a close affinity. Nowadays, the daily people-to-people exchanges on sports between border residents of China and Vietnam have developed into an institutional and regular pattern. Competitions in sepaktakraw, dragon boat, football, martial arts, firecracker grabbing, embroidered ball throwing, and cycling have been held frequently, which have forged a closer bond between the two peoples.

"Dongxing and Mong Cai always communicate with each other. The Lantern Cup almost arrives as scheduled at the beginning of every year, while other events are also held by non-official organizations or the football association at the end of the year. These events make it possible for more exchanges on football between us. The friendship of the two peoples will be more robust," said Ding Quancheng, the captain of the Dongxing football team. When the friendly football match resumed on February 5, 2023, he extolled that the football has built a bridge of good friendship between China and Vietnam.

The 2023 China-ASEAN International Canoe Open Tournament was held on June 21, 2023. (Source: official website of Bureau of Sports of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region)

Favorable policies accelerate deeper and more comprehensive exchanges and cooperation

The rapid development of Guangxi-ASEAN sports exchanges is not a casual result, but an outcome attributed to Guangxi's efforts in refining solutions to expand the channel of exchanges with ASEAN countries focusing on relevant policies, working mechanisms, and service systems.

Guangxi has gotten off to a promising start for sports exchanges and cooperation with ASEAN countries, guided by favorable policies. A series of official documents, such as Overall Plan for China-ASEAN Sports Exchanges and Cooperation (2011-2020) and Opinions on Expediting the Development of Sports Industry to Promote Sports Consumption, were issued and implemented, which mapped out a strategy to build Guangxi into a regional center for international sports exchanges and cooperation. Sports enterprises were encouraged to expand overseas markets for sports training and trade in sports products in ASEAN countries and the Asian-Pacific region, as well as create a sound environment for development.

Moreover, Guangxi has contributed to the establishment of exchanges bases, as well as further sports talents exchanges and cooperation. Cooperative institutions, including China-ASEAN Sports Exchanges and Cooperation Center, China-ASEAN Sports Information Center, China-ASEAN Sports Human Resources Training Center, China-ASEA N Sports Talents Training Base, and China-ASEAN Gymnastics Exchanges and Cooperation Center, were established successively. In this context, Guangxi has carried out exchanges and cooperation on competitive sports talents training with ASEAN countries, being proactive to provide training opportunities for countries in need.

Since 2016, Guangxi has sent many sports teams to visit Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, and other countries, as well as dispatched coaches to provide training in weightlifting, table tennis, finswimming, archery, and martial arts. Meanwhile, sports teams from ASEAN countries including Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam also visited Guangxi for mutual learning and exchanges on the training techniques of athletics, swimming, finswimming, diving, and wrestling.

At the start of the year 2023, Chang Kim Wai and Goh Giap Chin, two Malaysian coaches, reported for duty in the Guangxi badminton team. It was the first time that top-class foreign coaches were invited to coach a Chinese badminton team at provincial level. Chang pointed out that most junior players of Guangxi are in good physical condition. In regard to techniques and tactics of the doubles, he hoped to share the experience and practice that he gained when teaching in Malaysia to Guangxi's players, with an expectation of mutual understanding and collaboration. There is no doubt that the arrival of the two coaches has built a new bridge for Guangxi-ASEAN sports exchanges.

Advantages boost high-quality development of sports industry

Located in Fangchenggang, Guangxi, China-ASEAN Healthy Sports Industrial Park is the main focus of China's General Administration of Sport and the government of Guangxi to jointly make Guangxi a strong sports area. As planned, this industrial park will give priority to the development of sports, as well as high-end and intelligent manufacturing of sports industry, cover the production and R&D of sailing boats, yachts, sports drugs, and sports nutrition products, introduce sports enterprises from both China and ASEAN countries, and promote the construction of sports industry innovation pilot zone.

Chen Wenzhi, Deputy Director of Fangchenggang Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio and Television, Sports and Tourism, once expressed his expectation that more enterprises can locate in the industrial park and link the markets of China and ASEAN countries.

In order to boost the high-quality development of sports industry, Guangxi-ASEAN Sports Industry Resources Transaction Platform was first launched in China in August 2022. The platform has provided services, such as property and equity transfer, bid for sports events, management and development rights, for Guangxi’s administration of sports at all levels, sports associations, enterprises of sports industry, as well as domestic and foreign sports industry traders, especially those in ASEAN countries. As of July 2023, a total of 122 projects were listed on the platform with list prices hitting 462 million and transaction prices 224 million.

Guangxi has made great efforts to take Chinese sports companies to the forefront in the market of ASEAN countries, so as to attract numerous domestic sports goods manufacturing enterprises with ambitions to build overseas markets to invest in Guangxi. It is obvious to notice that all of these are to gain economic and social benefits in the exchanges and integration of various China-ASEAN sports cultures.

Gan Yonghui, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Sports of Guangxi, shared that Guangxi will build China-ASEAN Advanced Sports Park in Nanning, China-ASEAN Oceanic Sports Center in Beihai, and an international outdoor sports attraction in Guilin for the next step. Moreover, China-ASEAN Healthy Sports Industrial Park will be improved and upgraded continuously, so as to make Guangxi a new pacesetter for sports industry cooperation that embraces countries from ASEAN and along the Belt and Road, as well as RCEP member countries.

(The article is a composite of information from the official website of Bureau of Sports of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region,, Guangxi Daily, Xinhua News Agency, and China Pictorial.)

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