September 6 - The Mayor of Taipei, host of the 2017 Universiade, has pledged to put his city on the global sporting map as it signed a landmark deal with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).
Lung-Bin Hau (pictured top, right) promised the Games, the biggest sporting event to date in the Taiwanese capital, would be the most pollution-free and hospitable on record.
Speaking at the Global Sports Business Summit in London, Hau admitted his city had a lot to learn but "would do everything possible" to make sure the 12,000-plus participants from more than 160 countries would enjoy an "unforgettable" experience.
Although Taipei organised the 2009 Deaflympics, only 4,000 athletes attended.
The World Student Games will be an altogether grander affair with building costs upwards of $1 billion (£630 million/€790 million).
Nevertheless, Hau pledged the work would be environmentally friendly, with only two of the 63 facilities needing to be built from scratch – basketball and tennis – and the rest undergoing total renovation.
"We want to build a green city," Hau told delegates.
"The planning and building of every Universiade facility will be low-carbon and sustainable.
"The renovation of existing facilities will also be guided by internationally recognised criteria: green building, green energy, green transportation."
However, organisers could not complete everything on their own, Hau said.
He admitted there was an "urgent" need for technological help from those "with knowledge to share" and used the platform to issue an open invitation to British companies to get involved in a whole raft of partnerships.
Urban development would be the "backbone" of the project, said Hau, while all sports facilities will be within an hour of each other and safety and security "air tight".
But hospitality, he said, would be the most telling factor of all.
"If you get lost in Taipei and ask for directions, people not only direct you the right way, they take you to your destination," he said.
As Hau spoke, it was announced his city had signed a so-called Host2Host Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UKTI chief executive Nick Baird (pictured top, left) to develop deeper relations between the two parties in the build-up to Taipei delivering the 2017 Universiade.
The agreement will help British companies capitalise on business opportunities associated with future global sporting events, including the Universiade, for which contracts are expected to total £750 million ($1.2 billion/€945 million).
It will also enable Taipei City to benefit from the United Kingdom's experience of staging both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Baird said: "Following the unparalleled success of the London 2012 Games, UK Trade & Investment is helping British firms identify, win and deliver contracts for major sporting events all around the world.
"The 2017 Universiade represents a major opportunity for UK firms to export their expertise.
"This collaboration with Taipei City will help the UK maximise the economic legacy of the 2012 Games, and support Taipei as it delivers a world-class competition."
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December 2011: Taiwan hopes 2017 Summer Universiade will boost economy