if Winson Lee were a needle, he’d be in the world’s largest haystack. That’s because out of China’s more than 1.1 billion people, he is the nation’s only Certified Pool Operatorinstructor.

Lee became a CPO instructor approximately six years ago and began his Taipei-based company, Poolhouse Aquatic Consulting Services, a year after that.

He sees many water treatment issues that must be addressed before the 2008 Summer Olympics. “People have no real idea about combined chlorine,” he says. “The government does have regulations, but they’re too rough and too vague. Most people also don’t know how to control the pH.”

Still, Lee sees great potential for aquatics. As China’s middle class grows, the popularity of swimming has intensified. While the cities are too dense for homes with backyard pools, the Chinese flock to public and, increasingly, private pools. All of this modernization is causing the Chinese government to play catch-up, according to Lee. And he may be just the person to help — if they can find him.

“It’s already a very fast-growing market,” he says. “In two years, it will be even faster because people will have more money. The Olympic Games will bring more potential markets and industries related to the swimming pool.” — Rin-rin Yu