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2008 Olympics posts 1.2b yuan operating profit

THE 2008 Beijing Olympics pulled in an operating profit of 1.2 billion yuan (US$176 million) -- nearly three times earlier forecasts, the state audit office said yesterday, adding that the Games venues are still generating revenue.

The Paralympic Games, held a month later last September, broke even with 863 million yuan in costs and revenue.

Officials said China will use the profits from the Olympics to boost the development of sports in the country.

In its report, the National Audit Office said the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympics fulfilled the government's requirements for a clean and thrifty event by creating a strict financial management and supervision system.

No major misuses of money were found, and there were no major quality problems or work safety mishaps, the report said. The construction projects finished on schedule, and all passed quality checks.

Auditors did detect minor problems, however, with bid subcontracts and a cost overrun on the National Stadium, or "the Bird's Nest."

The audit targeted the flow of finance to and from the organizing committee between September 2005 and March 2009. Revenue reached 20.5 billion yuan during that period, 800 million yuan more than expected, and the cost was 19.3 billion yuan, slightly higher than planned.

Revenue for the Olympic Games came mainly from broadcast rights, sponsorships, merchandise and ticket sales. Expenses included 5 billion yuan for broadcasting, accommodations, transport and medical services. The opening and closing ceremonies cost 831 million yuan.

Most Olympic host cities make money from running the Games -- Athens in 2004 reported an initial operating profit of US$155 million -- but the bills for building stadiums and other infrastructure can take many years to pay off.

Total investment in the Beijing Olympic venues stood at 19.49 billion yuan, covering 102 projects in the capital and five co-host cities.

Of that investment, 3.5 billion yuan came from the central government, 8.26 billion yuan was allocated by local governments, and 1.08 billion yuan came from donations from overseas Chinese, the report said.


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