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Public sports the next Chinese gold mine?

By Chen Yaping Monday, 04 Jul 2016 17:30

As we know, the Chinese government has played a key role to back up sports industry participants. Notably in 2014, China launched a landmark guideline to promote the sports industry. The plan states that the value of the overall sports industry is targeted for RMB5 trillion (approximately $850 billion).

As a result, over the past two years, Chinese firms have become keen to become involved with international sporting icons, such as Inter Milan, Atletico de Madrid, The World Triathlon Corporation and its Ironman brand, to name but a few.

The international expansion helps China enhance its profile but it is domestic sports that really makes the industry prosper. So the Chinese government has recently unveiled a plan to improve the fitness of the Chinese people as well as grow the industry as a whole.

As many as 700 million Chinese people are believed to take part in regular sports activities. Obviously, the nationwide fitness scheme will increase demand for sports products, facilities and events, providing an opportunity for economic growth, an official statement said.

As predicted in the plan, the total scale of China's sports consumption will reach RMB 1.5 trillion (US$227.7 bn) by 2020. To achieve this goal, Beijing will make a heavy investment in public sports facilities and fitness activities programs.

“Compared with the program for the last five years, we have changed the perspective on sports. Now we believe sports should be integrated with education, culture, tourism and the medical industry,” Liu Guoyong, an official of General Administration of Sport of China said in an interview.

In China, effective policy supports can often boost the whole sports industry. As a result, Chinese companies become more focused on the business of public fitness.  

For example, on June 30, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s sports division Alisports set up the World Online Running Alliance (WORA), which aims to combine public running APPs, sports federations, events, sponsors and operators. Another industry player LeSports also holds a public running brand ShakeRun, with participants from different cities every year.

The Chinese sports media has also been looking to take part in the process. At the beginning of May this year, the Chinese sports marketing and media conglomerate Sina Sports announced an agreement with Australia’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon.

“Part of Sina Sports ‘Global Marathon Strategic Plan’ is to partner with several marathons around the world and promote them in China though Sina’s multiple media platforms and offline activities organized by Sina running clubs,” said Arthur Wei, Senior Vice President of Sina.

In addition to clothing, food, shelter and travel, sports is the fifth essential for human beings, stated Ren Wen, Chairperson of Wisdom Sports, a company that is known for its popular events such as marathons, cycling and basketball.

Proofread by Sean O Diobhilin



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