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January 15, 2010

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Bird's Nest breaks mold and turns a tidy profit

THE iconic Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing has proved to be a cash cow, pulling in 370 million yuan after the 2008 Olympics, easing concerns the Games stadiums would become white elephants.

The bubble-clad Water Cube national swimming center also earned 150 million yuan after the 2008 Games, Beijing Daily reported yesterday. Total money earned in the Olympic venues has increased 29.9 percent from the previous year.

An official at Olympic Parks told the newspaper that the Bird's Nest has hosted many events since the Olympics.

It was turned into a race track for the Race of Champions last November. The car racing game draws elite drivers from various forms of motorsport such as world rallying, Formula 1 and world touring cars. Stars including Michael Schumacher took part in the event.

It was turned into a winter wonderland last December with mounds of artificial snow and mini ski slopes.

It also staged the famous opera "Turandot" last October to celebrate People's Republic of China's 60th anniversary.

The official said the great business performance of the Bird's Nest had broken the mold of Olympic venues in other countries falling into debt after the event.

He said the operation of the Bird's Nest costs 150 million yuan a year, which visitors alone could not cover.

The report said the renovation on the Water Cube will be complete in June. It will then become a resort. Local residents could also have chance to splash in the water where world records were broken.


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