The Chinese print media – where paid-for articles are common – remains keen on polo stories. This Monday there was a story in the China Daily ‘Indulging in Plenty of Horseplay’ which details the exploits of local real estate billionaires’ recently found penchant for polo. Xia Yang, the founder-president of Sunny Time Polo Club outside Beijing tells the paper he’s planning to expand this year with “advanced custom-made services to members who have higher requirements for their leisure facilities” whatever that means. Xia, who hired a troupe of horsemen from China’s hinterlands to make up his Sunny Time team, charges members 20,000 yuan for 100 visits to the club (and clubhouse) or 2,000 yuan for four chukkers (each seven minutes long).
The article also breathlessly details the luxuries on offer at the Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club, two hour’s drive from Beijing. The country’s largest polo club, which opened at the start of the year, was built by a real estate developer to help draw attention (and media) to its villa properties. Expect more golf and polo clubs built to sell real estate across China. Interestingly there’s no details in the China Daily piece about the number of professional polo players in China. Few, I’d imagine apart from Sunny Time’s hired hands who get an affordable 600 euros a month to ride. Whatever about the nouveau riche and developers and cheerleading scribes, I’d like some details in the next gushing polo article I read about horse breeds, where the polo ponies come from or what the veterinarian facilities and skills are like on-site.