In late 2014, Vanke, one of China’s largest real estate companies, embarked on a new chapter in its corporate history with the launch of a 40 billion yuan (US $6 billion) ski resort in Songhua Lake, Jilin Province. The resort attracted 300,000 visitors in 2016 — a figure previously achieved only by a handful of other Chinese ski resorts — and generated nearly 150 million yuan (US $23 million) in profits despite the high start-up costs of the sport and its relatively recent introduction to the country.

Vanke’s investment was part of a broader diversification strategy designed to enhance the company’s reputation as a premier real estate developer and service provider. But continued success would hinge not only on Vanke’s ability to sustain demand in an increasingly competitive market, but also its ability to address a spate of operational challenges unique to the global ski industry and particularly the Chinese market. (This report in Chinese.)