October 20, 2014 / 11:07 AM / 3 years ago

China eyes $817 billion sports sector for new economy

China's Chen Shiwei, Xie Zhenye, Su Bingtian and Zhang Peimeng celebrate winning the men's 4x100m relay final and setting a new Asian record and Games record at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium during the 17th Asian Games October 2, 2014.Jason Reed

BEIJING (Reuters) - China plans to grow its sports sector into a 5-trillion-yuan (647.16-billion pounds) industry by 2025 to boost employment and domestic consumption in its "new" economy, the government said on Monday.

Under a sweeping reform plan, China aims to boost domestic consumption to replace exports and heavy investment as the traditional drivers of growth in the world's second-largest economy.

Private investment will be encouraged, new sports facilities will be built and the government will support the sector by increasingly buying its services, the cabinet, known as the state council, said in a statement.

Companies that need funding and are sufficiently healthy will also be encouraged to sell corporate bills or bonds, with business tax cut to 15 percent for those identified as high-tech sports firms.

After 30 years of double-digit economic expansion that lifted millions of Chinese out of poverty but also polluted its air, soil and waterways, China wants to move to a "new" economy from an "old" one, to create slower but higher-quality growth.

Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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