China eyes $817 bln sports sector for new economy

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BEIJING (Oct 20): China plans to grow its sports sector into a 5-trillion-yuan ($817-billion) industry by 2025 to boost employment and domestic consumption in its "new" economy, the government said on Monday.

Under a sweeping reform plan, China aims to boost domestic consumption to replace exports and heavy investment as the traditional drivers of growth in the world's second-largest economy.

Private investment will be encouraged, new sports facilities will be built and the government will support the sector by increasingly buying its services, the cabinet, known as the state council, said in a statement.

Companies that need funding and are sufficiently healthy will also be encouraged to sell corporate bills or bonds, with business tax cut to 15 percent for those identified as high-tech sports firms.

After 30 years of double-digit economic expansion that lifted millions of Chinese out of poverty but also polluted its air, soil and waterways, China wants to move to a "new" economy from an "old" one, to create slower but higher-quality growth. ($1=6.1233 Chinese yuan)