Boats used by race organizers ready at Qingdao Port.
As the curtain went up on the Beijing Olympics yesterday signaling the start of competitions on the field, another race has long been underway in the business community as companies grapple for a share of Olympics benefits.
One is Haier Group, whose boat with the appliance giant`s trademark and Olympic logo set out to sea from Qingdao`s Olympic Sailing Center late last December.
It is the only white home appliance sponsor of the Beijing Olympics.
As part of its marketing effort the Qingdao-based multinational started the "Haier Olympic Gold Family" to recruit volunteer families in 40 Chinese cities that will receive and showcase traditional Chinese culture to foreign friends during the Games.
Haier also plans to build primary schools named after Olympic champions as part of the national charity Project Hope.
Another Qingdao giant, Tsingtao Beer, is locked in fierce competition with Beijing-based Yanjing Beer to top the industry.
In 2005 Tsingtao announced it will be a beer sponsor of the Beijing Olympics the day after Yanjing Beer signed on as sponsor of the Games.
Both of China`s beer giants view the Games as crucial to winning greater market share.
Athletes, officials and visitors from all over the world can see the Olympic emblem and Tsingtao Beer`s logo of "Passion, Dream, Success" in every corner of Qingdao.
"Beer is a kind of passionate culture, which is closely connected with sports," said Jin Zhiguo, president of Tsingtao Brewery.
Tsingtao began an "Olympic Caravan" in 2006 that covered 180 Chinese cities over two years.
Partnership with the Olympics has enhanced Tsingtao`s brand value and helped the brewery reach a 13 percent year-on-year increase in sales and a 30 percent growth in annual profits over the past three years.
Intelligent transportation products developed by Qingdao Hisense Group outpaced its competitor from Germany, the global giant in automation, to win the bid on Olympic public transportation in Beijing, greatly promoting the reputation of the Qingdao-headquartered firm.
Serving the Beijing Olympic Games with advanced proprietary technologies appears to be a pivotal Hisense strategy to expand its market in this Olympic year.
Hisense Group secured the rights last year to provide high-definition digital TVs for the Beijing Olympics. It then launched a global marketing strategy to simultaneously introduce its flat panel TVs in 200 cities in China, the United States, France, Australia and South Africa.
Many Qingdao-based enterprises making yacht equipment and offering training became suppliers and service providers to the Games.
More companies, not only in Qingdao, but also in other cities in Shandong province have joined in the battle to win bigger market shares by taking advantage of the Games.
Shandong Taishan Group is supplying more than 170 kinds of equipment for six sports to the Games and its trademark will be seen often on Olympic fields. The company was also a supplier to the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.
The latest assessment shows that Taishan`s brand value climbed to 11.8 billion yuan from 980 million yuan in 2004.
"The 2008 Olympic Games are a golden opportunity for all Chinese enterprises. They should grasp it and get into the broader global market," noted Dong Yanling, a professor in Shandong Economic University.
Qingdao`s hotel industry also benefits from the city`s host role for Olympic sailing.
A two or three-fold average increase is expected in local hotel room prices, according to the Qingdao Tourism Bureau.