China Focus: Winter Olympics spurs foreign sports brands’ investments in China
BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) — Opening a new outlet at an ice sports centre in Beijing, American ice hockey equipment brand TRUE has received a warm welcome from the young trainees.
The store, opened in October 2021, provides “one-stop” purchasing services for teenagers trained at the centre so that they do not have to look around in the city for any single equipment like helmets, gloves, skates, and sticks.
The popularity of ice and snow sports started early in Europe and America, and the enterprises in this industry have mastered relatively mature technology, said Wang Zhiyong, a manager with the international department of the Beijing Capitals Hockey Club.
“So the Chinese winter sports market driven by the Beijing Winter Olympics will be a ‘blue ocean’ in the eyes of foreign brands,” said Wang.
A research report on China’s ice and snow industry in 2021 showed that the scale of China’s ice and snow industry increased from 270 billion yuan (about 42 billion U.S. dollars) in 2015 to 600 billion yuan in 2020.
According to China’s development plan for ice and snow sports from 2016 to 2025, the total scale of the industry will reach 1 trillion yuan by 2025.
Li Yanli, a professor at Beijing Sport University, said that the successful bid of the Beijing Winter Olympics has greatly promoted the development of China’s ice and snow industry. It has also enhanced the domestic sports consumption potential and expanded the sports market, thus allowing overseas sports goods providers to find new investment opportunities.
Data from the corporate information provider Tianyancha indicate that China saw an increase of more than 1,000 ice and snow sports-related enterprises in 2021.
At WF Central, an upscale shopping mall in downtown Beijing, a corridor bridge on its third floor is crowded with products from more than 10 global winter sports brands, including Bogner, Burton, and Mons Royale.
“We restored the scene of Burton’s studio here in a bid to inform the audience of the spiritual connotation of snowboarding sports and culture,” a staff member on the spot introduced.
Zhou Peng, who works at Bogner’s outlet in the mall, said the store opened in December. “As many ski resorts opened, one of our ski suits was even sold out for a time,” said Zhou.
With the Beijing Winter Olympics approaching, Bogner has accelerated its layout in China’s winter sports market and planned to establish an offline business network of about 80 retail stores within five years.
Like Bogner, there are many other overseas enterprises optimistic about China’s ice and snow sports market.
In September 2021, the Swedish sports fashion brand Peak Performance opened its official flagship store on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Tmall.
According to the statistical survey data of China’s sports venues in 2020 released by the General Administration of Sport of China, as of Dec. 31, 2020, there were 1,888 ice and snow sports venues in the country. It is estimated that the number will reach 2,900 in 2022.
“The preparation of the coming Olympics has led to the implementation of supporting measures in relevant fields, providing a high-quality business environment for enterprises who’d like to participate in the sports industry and support sports development, and bringing more investment confidence,” said Li.
“The Beijing Winter Olympics will drive China to cultivate a complete ice and snow industry chain. The Italian online winter travel agency Snowit will take the opportunity to cooperate with Chinese and overseas snow resorts, jointly promote the development of the industry, and share the opportunities of the Beijing Winter Olympics,” said Zhang Xiandong, Snowit’s sales representative in China.
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