China's outdoor sports industry to embrace golden era of development

(People's Daily Online) 08:59, November 17, 2022

China's outdoor sports sector looks set to embrace a golden area for development thanks to supportive policies and rapid economic growth.

Frisbee enthusiasts compete in a match held in Changlinhe town, Feidong county, Hefei city, east China's Anhui Province, on July 30, 2022. (People's Daily Online/Ruan Xuefeng)

The total size of China's outdoor sports industry is expected to surpass 3 trillion yuan (about $426.5 billion) by 2025, according to a development plan recently released by the country's General Administration of Sport and seven other departments.

In recent years, outdoor sports, including camping, cycling and running, have become increasingly popular among Chinese people, and China has emerged as one of the fastest growing markets for the industry.

The number of people participating in outdoor sports nationwide exceeded 400 million by the end of 2021.

Outdoor sports activities like mountain climbing, hiking, skiing, canoeing, and paragliding have flourished, and a diverse range of products related to outdoor sports have become available in online and brick-and-mortar stores.

This year, Keep, a popular Chinese fitness platform, took part in the country's annual "Double 11" online shopping festival for the fifth straight time. Over the past five years, the company's revenue has increased from 300 million yuan to 800 million yuan, reflecting growing demand for sports and fitness products, according to Huang Haidong, a senior researcher at Keep.

A man experiences skiing at a ski resort in Beigang town, Haigang district, Qinhuangdao city, north China's Hebei Province, on Feb. 19, 2022. (People's Daily Online/Cao Jianxiong)

"While growing stronger, we have also witnessed the meteoric rise of China's sports industry," said Huang.

According to data from corporate information provider Tianyancha, China is now home to 204,000 enterprises related to outdoor sports, up over 20 percent from one year earlier. Between January and October 2022, the number of newly registered enterprises involved in the outdoor sports sector exceeded 30,000. During the same period, China's outdoor sports consumption neared 1 trillion yuan.

"The frisbees and gloves we manufactured have sold very well. Our company's revenue registered an average annual growth rate of 150 percent in the last three years," said Xu Yingfeng, founder of Yikun Discs, adding that the company's sales stood at 60 million yuan last year.

"Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, travelers favor short-distance tours, bringing a valuable opportunity to the development of the outdoor sports sector. In particular, niche sports, such as glamorous camping, winter sports, and frisbees, have gained increasing popularity," said Li Wenjian, a researcher at the sports research institute of Chongqing Municipality.

Consumers expect more opportunities for leisure and social interactions from niche outdoor sports, and an increasing number of young people, especially women, are participating in niche outdoor sports held in cities, according to Li.

However, China's outdoor sports industry is still in the initial stage of its development. As a result, the country aims to promote the combination of natural resources and outdoor sports, develop small and medium-sized outdoor sports enterprises that use special, sophisticated techniques to produce unique and novel products, and make outdoor sports more digital and intelligent, according to the development plan.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Du Mingming)


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