Chinese weightlifter Lv Xiaojun trains in Tianjin with his own brand dumbbells in 2019. Photo: Courtesy of Yang Yilin
The just ended craze for the Tokyo Olympics is pushing the Chinese sports industry into the fast lane. With an ambitious plan to integrate sports into a 5,000 billion yuan ($ 773 billion) industry by 2025, sports equipment manufacturers and industry practitioners expect the sector fuels the growing appetite of consumers for sports activities and consumption.
According to statistics provided by the Chinese job search platform Liepin to the Global Times, new jobs in the sports industry jumped 24.2% in the first seven months compared to the same period last year.
Sportswear brands Adidas, Anta, Li-Ning and the Keep sports app topped the list of employers.
More investment and sponsorship arrangements could benefit top athletes. Chinese television maker Skyworth told the Global Times that it intends to cooperate with athletes who have shone at the Olympics.
At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Chinese team won a total of 88 medals, including 38 gold, 32 silver and 18 bronze, placing second in the final medal tally.
Spurred on by the successful performances of Chinese athletes in Tokyo, market analysts are optimistic about the outlook for the industry.
“We have seen an increase in the number of visitors to the online store, its volume of exchanges and interactions between followers and fans,” Wang Jiajia, head of national brand affairs, told the Global Times. dumbbells and plates under the Chinese athlete Lv Xiaojun. Monday.
Lv, a veteran weightlifter, won the championship with a 170 kilogram snatch and 204 kilogram clean and jerk on July 31 in Tokyo. He holds two world records for the clean and jerk and also the total score.
Due to the large number of overseas fans and the mature development of the overseas sports industry, Wang said foreign market revenues doubled that of the domestic market, with the United States remaining the largest market. for the brand.
“Training has shifted from strength training to a functional activity… With the growing popularity of CrossFit gyms in China, people’s awareness of weightlifting is gradually increasing,” said Yang Yilin, head of media communications on the behalf of the brand. World time.
The Chinese government earlier in August announced an ambitious plan to make sports a 5,000 billion yuan industry by 2025. This suggests that the sector is heading for a 69.5% increase over its size. in 2019. Such growth would be well above the average rate of 55.3 percent in 2016-19, according to media reports.
“There is no problem to achieve this goal, but the current consumer drive for sports in China is not strong enough. In addition, the supply is not sufficient,” said Zhang Qing, CEO of Key Solution Sports Co, a consulting firm for the sports industry in China, the Global Times told the Global Times on Monday.
“In five to ten years, the sports industry could become a pillar industry of the Chinese economy. This means that its proportion will represent 5% of the country’s GDP, ”said Zhang, suggesting that an adjustment in the structure of the industry is urgently needed.
Sporting goods account for about 60% of total industry revenue thanks to strong Chinese manufacturing, but in sports service industry, such as sports competition and physical training, China has huge room for growth, according to Zhang.
However, the gap between the sports industries of China and the United States remains large. According to a report from Deloitte, the average permeability of gyms in 18 major Chinese cities was only 3.9% in 2019, far behind the United States (20%), the United Kingdom (15%) and Japan. (8%).
Lin Xianpeng, a professor at Beijing Sports University, told financial website 21jingji.com that Chinese per capita sports spending is only 1/25 of Americans.
“Only if we trigger consumer demand for sports will the industry grow stronger,” Lin said.
The key lies in education, agreed industry practitioners. “We should be producing more sports talent at the higher education level, instead of people for competitions. This includes dieticians and physiotherapists, who could support the sports industry,” Wang said.