From where Yang Qiliu is sitting, the future looks bright, Olympics or no Olympics.

Renovation in and around the historic Beijing neighborhood where Yang runs a small shop selling window frames has seen business pick up in the past few years.

He sees no reason why that should end once the thousands of athletes and swarms of tourists who will descend on the capital a year from now have packed up and gone home.

Right now, the economy is going really well in general, not just in Beijing, he said. I think it will only get better after the Olympics.

Yang's phlegmatic comments reflect those of many ordinary Chinese: while they see the Games as a nice bonus for an already booming economy, they hardly expect them to make or break China's, Beijing's or their own prospects.

To be sure, some have already benefited more directly.

Beijing is spending an estimated $35-40 billion (17-19.6 billion pounds) on upgrading its infrastructure ahead of the Games in addition to $2.1 billion on running them, providing lucrative contracts to some companies and jobs to tens of thousands.

The roughly half a million visitors expected next August will provide a shot in the arm to local hospitality and retail firms.

But analysts say that for the Chinese economy the Olympics are basically a non-event because Beijing makes up only a small share of overall output. The capital currently accounts for just under 4 percent of nationwide gross domestic product.


That also means China is unlikely to see any serious downturn following the Games, as has happened to other host countries such as Seoul in 1988, Barcelona in 1992 and Athens in 2004, said Qing Wang, an economist with Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong.

If the city in which the Games take place accounts for a large proportion of that country's economy or population, then this 'post-Olympics syndrome' tends to be pronounced, Wang said in a recent research note.

China is in the midst of a broader process of urbanisation that makes Beijing's spending on new subway lines, roads and stadiums more the norm than the exception.

For instance, the 1.5 trillion yuan slated for expanding the country's vast railway system from 2006-2010 is about five times Beijing's infrastructure bill.

The Olympics will help increase demand to some extent, but they themselves won't have an impact in terms of expanding economic capacity, said Song Guoqing, chief economist with the China Stock Exchange Executive Council, a Beijing-based think-tank.

The economy has gone from strength to strength in recent years. It clocked in annual growth of 11.9 percent in the second quarter, the fastest pace in nearly 12 years.

Still, some analysts reckon the Games could influence the fortunes of the world's fourth-largest economy by concentrating the minds of policy makers.

Just as Beijing's meteorologists are prepping to use cloud-seeding missiles to ensure a rain-free opening ceremony should they need to, some economists say authorities could be loath to slam on the policy brakes in the approach to the spectacle to ensure a humming economy.

That could potentially herald an economic hangover afterwards, they say.


Another potential concern is the psychological impact the Olympics could have on the country's investors, especially the armies of individuals who have rushed into the stock market on the back of its recent bull run, said Frank Gong, chief China economist with JPMorgan Securities in Hong Kong.

Talk to individual investors, and many of them simply assume that the stock market -- and Beijing's property market -- have nowhere to go but higher, faster and stronger in the coming year.

The Shanghai stock exchange has posted successive record highs in recent weeks and has now risen by about two-thirds so far this year after surging 130 percent in 2006.

The market could use it as an excuse to take profits if the stock market, Chinese assets, continue to go up in the run-up to the Olympic Games, Gong said. Ahead of or around the Olympics, people may say 'enough is enough' and choose to get out.

Taking a longer-term view, the economic legacy of the Games will probably be the onus it put on China to focus more on the quality of growth rather than just on expanding output, said Chen Xingdong, chief economist with BNP Paribas Peregrine in Beijing.

Chen said the Olympics spotlight has galvanised a campaign to weed out wasteful factories and polluters by making it tougher for them to secure credit and win approval for projects.

If there was no Beijing Olympics, I can assure you that the emphasis on pollution reduction and energy conservation would not be as large as the current government is doing, he said.