Organizers are urging artists to highlight cultural elements and appeal to youth in their proposed designs for the 2022 Winter Olympics mascots as the submission process enters its final phase.
The organizing committee of the Winter Games began accepting design proposals for the quadrennial event over the weekend.
Public enthusiasm to participate in the competition has been impressive, the Beijing 2022 committee said.
"Excitement around the competition in the artistic design sector reflects the country's growing appreciation for the Olympics and the public's expectations for the Beijing 2022 Games," said Yao Junfei, an official in the committee's culture and ceremonies department.
"For such memorable symbols, we expect to see a great demonstration of Chinese culture, the host's characteristics, and an appeal to young fans in the design proposals," he said.
The committee will close the submission process at 5 p.m. on Oct. 31 followed by two rounds of review and evaluation of all successful bids.
The winning designs are expected to be unveiled in the second half of 2019. The 10 finalists will each receive a cash prize of 10,000 yuan ($1,440), while the ultimate winners will each be given 100,000 yuan.
The worldwide competition of the designs was launched on Aug. 8 as part of China's celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
As critical images for the Games' marketing program, the mascots should feature strong visual impressions as well as compatibility to fit in all kinds of related products, said Li Zeyi, a 16-year-old participant.
"I think at the very least they should be eye-catching and pleasantly presented," said Li, who handed in his design on Saturday morning.
"It's important to highlight the Olympic spirit and Chinese culture, but it's also critical to make it popular among youth and compatible for the production of future merchandise," said Li, a student from Binzhou, Shandong Province.
The committee has organized multiple symposiums featuring renowned artists and designers of previous Games' mascots, as well as scholars to discuss key criteria for the Beijing 2022 mascots.
The 2022 Winter Olympics will be staged in three zones, downtown Beijing, its northwest Yanqing district and co-host city Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province, making the Chinese capital the only city in the world to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
The Beijing 2008 Games mascots, called "Fuwa", or "good-luck dolls", featured five figures－Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying and Nini－in traditional Chinese attire. They were designed by a group headed by artist Han Meilin.