Racecourses, equestrian-related businesses eagerly await official approval
○ China's State Council recently announced that it will encourage horse racing in Hainan
○ But the Hainan government quickly put the brakes on its hot horse market in order to prevent a bubble economy
○ Due to direct ties to gambling and the lottery, some question if horse racing is an appropriate venture
Local citizens experience horse riding at an equestrian school in Haikou, capital of Hainan Province. Photo: VCG
Chen Guangxin, who has witnessed the decades-long development of modern horse racing in China, picked up his hopes for this burgeoning industry after China's State Council recently announced that it would encourage horse racing along with water sports in Hainan to further open up the economy of the southernmost island province.
"We already see the light," Chen gleefully told Southern Weekly. As a council member of the China Horse Industry Association, the man experienced the golden era of the 1990s and its subsequent retreat in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, in 1999. Since then, he has been pessimistic about the industry.
Seeing a new opportunity, Chen is taking the lead in joining an industry that is once again regarded as promising following the government's announcement in April. His company has signed an agreement with animal husbandry firm Luoniushan Co., Ltd in exploring a horse culture-themed industrial park in Haikou, Hainan's capital.
Chen is just one of many who are sniffing out new business opportunities, including the lottery, related to the island's future horse racing industry. But against this excitement is governmental ambiguity. While investments are storming into the island, Hainan regulators recently banned horse-related companies from registering.
Insiders analyzed that too much investment at the same time might bring bubbles to the industry; thus, the Hainan government is cautious about horse racing and trying to cool the sweltering market. Bewildered investors question where the policy will land them, but remain hopeful for a possible opening-up for horse racing on the island or even the whole country.
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