China‘s interest in extreme sports was reflected in 2004 with the creation of the National Association of Extreme Sports, and in 2007 with the arrival in Shanghai of the first extreme sports competition held on Chinese territory, the Kia X Games Asia. The Government has from the beginning supervised the development of these new sports on the territory. As China never does things by halves, she had already built the largest skateboarding ramp in the world in 2005.
Since then, events around extreme sport have followed one another in all corners of the country : the International Extreme Sports Festival (FISE) in 2015 in Chengdu – which since its first edition has been held there every year – the FB-Festival for his 4×4 rally in Inner Mongolia, the surf competition on the Qiantang River, an air motocross demonstration on the Shanghai Bund and even the kayak race at Nujiang Canyon.
Why extreme sports in China ?
It turns out that China is an ideal terrain for extreme sports: the mountains of Tibet for hiking to Everest, the island of Hainan with a tropical climate for surfing, the cliffs of Yangshuo for Rock climbing, Hebei Province for its ski resorts by minus 20 degrees all year round in winter, or even scuba diving at Qiandao Lake. New online travel agencies (OTA) even organize mountain bike sessions around rice terraces, taking precautions of course not to ruin the work of farmers.
China has discovered a thousand natural terrains conducive to the practice of all extreme sports in the four corners of the country, an economic vein of choice both to attract tourists and foreign sportsmen in the territory, but also to develop national practices.
Urban areas are not left out: Chinese and foreign entrepreneurs have seized the first opportunities by proposing parachute jumping of metropolises like Beijing and Macao, a development still framed by the government.
A change in mentalities
Young urban Chinese are proving more and more thrill-seekers, hence the arrival of these adrenaline sports mainly guided by American soft power.
Chinese society has undergone a strong evolution. While recreational sports were previously reserved for the well-to-do classes – who alone had the financial means to buy the right equipment – the Chinese middle class also has access to them with increasing purchasing power.
The priorities of the Chinese citizen have evolved well. Previously, work and family life took precedence over any distraction. The goal of everyone was the enrichment and acquisition of property: all the wealth of the family was focused on the future of the only child. These generations of unique children have now reached their twenties or thirties. From overprotected children, they have become adults influenced by the West, who think more about leisure and aspire to a way of life detached from the social constraints of their elders. In this context, sports and especially extreme sports find their place.
It should be noted that the inhabitants of Taiwan and Macao, more familiar with Western cultures, are interested and addicted first before the Chinese mainland.
Sports tourism is booming
Which tertiary sector benefits from the rise of extreme sports – and sport – in China? Tourism ! Young Chinese tourists would indeed enjoy a trip abroad to discover a new sport.
Faced with this fairly recent development of recreational sport, China still lacks infrastructure to the size of its population, or infrastructure enough technical to support the progress of its hard-working practitioners. Certainly, it has the largest indoor ski track in the world. We cannot say that efforts are not provided to equip! Many are still Chinese enthusiasts who go abroad for more professionalism or to move to the next level of practice, when local education is restricted to beginners.
China makes use of major foreign brands of supplies, which also receive the credit of the population: Nike, Adidas, Puma or Decathlon for mass distribution, but also all suppliers of technical equipment such as SMI Snowmakers, Prinoth, Elan, Fischer or Poma.
Big opportunity for food suppliers ?
Beyond the practice of sport, extreme sports in China lead to a business of food supplements like energy drinks, proteins and cereal bars recommended for the sports effort.
Confronted with the inconvenience of urban life – pollution, sedentary lifestyle, fast food, stress, tiredness – the sport becomes for many Chinese city dwellers a way to find a balanced life. Many people supplement their diet with vitamins to improve their health, fight tiredness or treat their skin. As everything must go quickly in China, dietary supplements powder to promote the development of muscles or improve sports performance are legions.
The Redbull brand understood China’s potential well upstream and has been supporting the nerve of war for a few years now by sponsoring numerous events around extreme sport. Its establishment in China has been very successful, many young Chinese prefer Redbull drink coffee to keep up the pace at work.
Which sports are included in the term “Extreme Sports”?
All sports with a strong adrenaline rush and practiced outdoors, which present a form of danger. These may be classic sports whose practice is extremely extreme in terms of complexity and physical effort.
→ Parachuting, motocross, rally, mountain biking, skateboarding, paragliding, marathon, BMX, rollerblading, climbing, hang gliding, bungee jumping, wingsuit, base jump, parkour, skiing, snowboarding, kite surfing, jet boarding, scuba diving , surfing, water skiing, rafting, windsurfing, high-level diving, underwater hockey.
Do you have a project related to sport events or sport tourism in China mainland ?
We have the solutions for you!
Our agency Marketing to China can help you to improve your communication in China. We are the best agency about digital marketing on the Chinese market.
To learn more about our activities, contact us!