China’s zero-COVID policy dims sponsors’ hopes of Olympic boost

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo

BEIJING — Chinese companies that are sponsors of the Beijing Winter Olympics have been devoting themselves to the promotion of their products.

Tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is a Worldwide Olympic Partner. The company has been promoting its services, saying that the Olympic Games will be broadcast live around the world via its Alibaba Cloud service. This reportedly will be the first attempt to provide all Olympic programming in 4K high-definition.

Major sporting goods company Anta Sports Products Ltd. is an official partner of the Beijing Winter Games. It has been openly proclaiming mainly through social media that China’s national team will be wearing Anta’s apparel, in an effort to increase sales of its Olympics-related goods.

Even just before the opening of the Games, however, there seems to be a lack of any excitement in the air in Beijing. This is largely due to China’s zero-COVID policy, which aims to eliminate community transmission of the novel coronavirus.

One sponsor said that the company was told by authorities to refrain from holding events and exhibitions that draw many people. It seems unlikely that these companies can expect much Olympic demand that will justify the high fees paid to become sponsors.