CHINA EXPECTS to invite bids for the design of sports infrastructure for the 2008 Olympics in August, it said last week .
According to the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), design contracts will be awarded by the end of the year, with construction scheduled to start in July 2003.
Some £10bn has been earmarked for sporting venues and the Olympic village.
BOCOG is aiming to have all of its new sporting infrastructure completed and ready for trials by mid-2006.
Of the 32 Olympic venues sited in Beijing, 19 will be newly constructed, including an 80,000 capacity National Stadium, an 18,000 seat indoor stadium, and a 18,000 seat swimming centre. Extensive refurbishment and expansion will be carried out on 13 existing venues.
Outside Beijing, a marina is to be built 690km away at Qingdau for the Olympic sailing events. Football stadia will be built at Tianjin, Shenyang, Shanghai and Qinhuangdao.
The Chinese authorities are also planning a major programme of infrastructure improvement, including road, light and heavy rail projects, water supply, sewage treatment and municipal waste management schemes.
In addition to international design expertise, China is looking for project finance and management skills.
More than 20 UK firms were in Beijing last week to size up the opportunities as part of a mission led by the government's overseas trade promotion body Trade Partners UK and the British Construction & Consultants Bureau.
INFOPLUS www. beijing-2008. org