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China to develop leisure sport sector to $130 billion by 2020

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China plans to develop the sports aviation, water sports and hiking industries to a combined 900 billion yuan ($130.20 billion) by 2020, the country's top economic planner said on Friday, as it seeks to improve the health of its citizens.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in documents published online that it would build thousands of sports facilities and carve out more routes and parks for hikers as part of these plans.

For instance, it will look to grow sports aviation, which covers activities such as hot air ballooning, parachuting or drone usage, to a 200 billion yuan industry. It plans to increase the number of camps available for flight enthusiasts to pilot aircraft to 2,000 from 100 currently, it said.

In watersports, it plans to build more boat marinas and expand the country's water sport clubs five-fold to 1,000, the NDRC said.

Two years ago, Beijing laid out an ambitious plan to promote sports in the country, saying it would reduce taxes for relevant companies and would build facilities to enable the average sports venue area per person to reach 2 square metres.

On Thursday, state broadcaster CCTV reported that China was on track to have 50 million obese children, far more than the United States and India combined, citing a study by the World Obesity Federation.

($1 = 6.9126 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Biju Dwarakanath)


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