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On March 3, 2019, Shantou won the bid to host the 3rd Asian Youth Games in 2021, making it the fifth city in China after Beijing, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Hangzhou, as well as the first and only prefecture-level city other than provincial capitals, to win the bid to host a continental-level multi-sport event.

In June 2019, a leading group for the preparatory work for the 3rd Asian Youth Games was formed in Shantou. Sixteen departments — namely the Comprehensive Coordination Department, Competition Department, Arena Construction Department, Cultural Exchange Department, Public Relations Department, Press Department, Finance and Marketing Department, Legal Affairs Department, Organization and Human Resources Department, Supervision and Audit Department, Security Department, Health Department, Logistics Department, Information Technology Department, Urban Environment Improvement Department and Volunteers Department — have been set up to undertake the daily operations of the preparatory work office and the implementation of preparatory work.

The leading group for the preparatory work for the 3rd Asian Youth Games will keep the significance and theme of this event in mind and follow the guideline of “promoting youth and vitality, insisting on low carbon and environmental protection, encouraging participation and sharing, advocating pragmatism and innovation, and sticking to safety and integrity.” With a high starting point, high quality, high standards and high efficiency as its goals, the leading group will actively advance the preparatory work and gather the wisdom of citizens from all walks of life to ensure a unique and brilliant sports event, which will also present the “vital special economic zone and harmonious hometown of overseas Chinese, a pearl in eastern Guangdong Province” city image of Shantou and the progress it has been making as a sub-center city of Guangdong Province and an important component in China’s coastal economic belt.