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Entrepreneur bets on horse success

Horse-racing events are held regularly in Inner Mongolia, which boasts China's best grassland and breeds world-famous Mongolian horses. Racing rules are similar to those of Hong Kong.[Jian Jun/China Daily]

Equestrian owner counting on China's newly rich to take up riding, racing and purchasing of his pricely ponies.

The excitement of the crowd can be felt as well as heard around the equestrian field where horses gallop across the turf.

But instead of the manicured race course at Happy Valley in Hong Kong or the green pastures of the United Kingdom, this horse race in August took place in Tongliao, a city in Inner Mongolia that boasts China's best grassland and breeds world-famous Mongolian horses.

Although no betting is allowed during the Jirem Horse Racing Festival, there are prizes available, including one totaling more than 200,000 yuan ($32,573) that went to Lang Lin and his riders after their horses won seven gold medals of the total nine races, including the running of the 2,000- and 5,000-meter races.

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Lang, owner of Inner Mongolian Rider Horse Co Ltd, which he started in 2006, is a horse-racing fanatic who appears regularly at racetracks at home and abroad to watch over his vast stable of thoroughbreds, imported from New Zealand, and to see the horses compete.

"Polo and equestrian events are becoming a new way for the Chinese nouveau riche to relax and show their social status," said Lang, who now owns more than 800 horses, including thoroughbreds, Mongolians and halfbloods.

"In China, riding and watching polo is just starting to become a trend, and many will also buy horses, just as they have dogs, cats and other pets at home," he said.

As more wealthy Chinese are choosing equestrian sports as a marker for wealth and status, the number of polo clubs in China has risen from fewer than 100 in 2007 to more than 1,200 in 2013, and it is still growing, with an average increase of 30 percent per year, according to data released by the China Horse Industry Association.

But not many polo clubs are actually gaining profits, Lang said.

"It is still in its infancy, because only a few Chinese can ride and play," he said.

Polo clubs account for just a small part of his horse-related businesses, which range across the entire industrial chain, from the upstream - horse breeding - and the mid-stream - horse feeding - to the downstream: feedstock trading, polo clubs and clinics.

Lang said his is the first and only China-based horse business to receive private equity from venture capital companies.

SOURCE. China Daily
UPDATE. 2014-10-01
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