Putting the Metaverse aside, the real buzz for Silicon Valley lately is Web 3.0. Many Silicon Valley leaders and venture capitalists have recently joined the Web 3.0 debate. Some people love it, some people praise it.
What is Web3.0? To understand it, you have to start from the beginning. The World Wide Web originally developed by Berners-Lee was a static Web 1.0 state, where people could only read content published by web giants. In the era of Web 2.0, the biggest change of the Internet is interaction. People can comment on conversations and publish works. The online world thrives on UGC.
The original intention of Web 2.0 was the spirit of freedom. But with the development of the Internet, the Internet world is gradually moving towards a situation where it is monopolized by some giants. Therefore, some people hope to build a freer online world, namely Web 3.0, after decentralized technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence mature.
Web3.0 is still just a conceptual term. The core idea is to decentralize the Internet based on blockchain technology, allowing giants to hand over the right to speak and the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to manage the online world. The ideal state of Web3.0 is UGA, that is, users create value.
Goldman Sachs said that Web 3.0 may set off a wave that will disrupt the Internet industry, but Musk believes that it is a marketing gimmick like the Metaverse. Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter, believes that users still cannot have the ideal freedom, and that Web 3.0 will eventually fall into the hands of investment institutions.
In just a few years, ice and snow sports have entered the most densely populated and most economically developed urban agglomeration in China. As of 2020, China has 36 indoor ski resorts, more than 1/3 of the world’s total. In this year, 8 of the top ten cities for ice and snow tourism are in the south. Southern students’ enthusiasm for ice and snow has spawned a huge ice and snow business. In particular, the global climate anomaly has also occurred since 2000. Today, the situation of “snow in the south and waterlogging in the north” is far from what was imagined in the 1990s.
Of course, the driving force is definitely not just the students in the south. The students in the northeast have received in-class ice and snow training in elementary school. But from a broader social perspective, this raging ice and snow sports boom is also a typical national narrative: On July 31, 2015, Beijing won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, and the Chinese government publicly promised to let 300 million people Participated in ice and snow sports, and formulated an ambitious plan for ice and snow sports in 2016, to push the industry scale to 1 trillion yuan.
However, for this niche sport that combines international events and favorable policies, the real flashpoint does come from the experience and consumer demand of the public.
In 2016, China’s per capita GDP exceeded US$8,000 – the industry consensus is that beyond this line, sports with high consumption thresholds such as skiing will begin to develop. The just-released 2021 China economic data shows that China’s total GDP exceeds 110 trillion yuan, and the per capita GDP exceeds 12,000 US dollars for the first time.
Our cover report in this issue of the occasion hopes to elaborate on the relationship between such macroeconomic data and government will, business phenomena and personal needs from different dimensions – how a real estate company turned the world of ice and snow into a popular tourist destination in southern cities; How a start-up company turns skiing into a daily fitness-like lifestyle; how a group with great spending power brings a niche sport such as fire hockey; and, in a mature market, what kind of business model innovation is required for the long-term development of ice and snow sports .
This mature market refers to Japan. In the early 1960s, the movie starring Austrian skier Toni Sailer became popular in Japan, igniting the Japanese public’s enthusiasm for ice and snow sports, and two large ski resorts in Hokkaido Niseko and Shinnaeba opened in 1961. It is not surprising that the number of skiers in Japan exceeded 1 million for the first time
. The Sapporo Winter Olympics in 1972 and the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998 also became important driving factors for the popular skiing boom. Snow sports ushered in a golden age of nearly 30 years in Japan.
However, the collapse of the bubble economy can be said to have directly extinguished the public enthusiasm for ice and snow. According to the “Leisure White Paper” released every year by the “Japan Productive Headquarters”, a Japanese public welfare foundation, the total number of skiers in Japan has continued to decline after reaching a peak of 18 million in 1998. In 2020, there are only 4.3 million people, only 1/4 of the peak period. . The decrease in the number of people directly affects economic returns: in 2020, the total revenue of ski resorts in Japan will be less than 40% of that in 1998, and the market size of ski equipment has also fallen to 30%. In contrast, the infrastructure of ski resorts needs to be updated after about 30 to 40 years, and the cost of investment is extremely high.
The rise and fall of Japan’s ice and snow industry is very informative. The new generation of consumers is living in Japan’s economic downturn, has less disposable income than their parents, and has more leisure and entertainment options besides skiing. Fundamentally, ice and snow sports allow people to experience the speed, freedom and excitement that is beyond the control of daily life, enough to make people addicted to it, and only when people really fall in love with this sport will it release its lasting charm. In the report released by the National Bureau of Statistics on January 12 this year, the primary purpose of Chinese people participating in ice and snow sports is “entertainment and leisure”, accounting for 70.35%. But think about it, isn’t that the case with Japanese young people before? Whether Frozen can continue until people have more choices, or enter a new economic cycle, is still unknown.