For many years skiing was perceived as a bourgeois pastime, inaccessible for the main part of the population. Indeed, buying or renting equipment is rather expensive. In addition, you must own a car to reach the ski areas. However, when Beijing won the organization of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games against Almaty (Kazakhstan), skiing became trendy! China has become the second region with the most ski areas in the world, behind the Alps which contain more than a third of the resorts on the planet.
With the economic development of China, Chinese consumers have seen their purchasing power increased significantly. Therefore their share devoted to leisure has grown bigger too, including skiing! They also have more paid time off and cars per household. China now has 15 million skiers and nearly 700 ski areas.
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The ski market: A huge market in the run-up to the Olympics
By 2022, for the Winter Olympics, most ski events will take place at Chongli Station. 76 billion yuan investment was planned on the site! The work will be huge because China starts from scratch (or almost). The strength of the Chinese market is that it is at its peak right now. China is living the Alps in the 1970s. The excitement around this practice is at its peak, the planned investments are huge, and the number of skiers continues to grow. This market is more promising than ever! Chinese ski resorts should even catch up with those of Switzerland (in terms of profit) within two years.
While the population was not always ready for the arrival of skiing in China, the country was still adapted to this practice. We must not forget that China is the third largest country in the world! His landscapes are very varied. Two-thirds are mountainous, with peaks of up to 8000 meters. The conditions of the country are therefore totally favourable to make this sport a huge business in China. Only the population was not ready. While a slight interest began in 1996 during the Asian Winter Games in Yabuli (not far from Harbin), the real turning point came in when Beijing was elected as a host city of the Olympics in 2015.
A craze for skiing encouraged by the government
President Xi Jinping has organized a large national-level plan to promote winter sports. The numbers have fallen, the goal to reach is 300 million followers by 2022 (including 120 million skiers). This would allow the country to have more and more athletes and maximize their chances of medals at the Games. Which is a bit far from being won due to the lack of winter sports culture in China. While they shine during the summer Olympics, their success at the Winter Games remains mixed and the country wants to turn the tide in 2022. But it is also the opportunity to boost the economic momentum of the North-East provinces. thanks to a new “winter tourism”. Because these provinces are in crisis since deindustrialization. The tourist attraction of these could thus save them. Skiing is even promoted in schools to encourage the interest of the inhabitants from the youngest age.
How to enter this market?
If you are a ski equipment brand, it may be advisable to sell your products through Chinese e-commerce platforms before opening a store in the country. Indeed, most skiers are still beginners and will prefer to rent their equipment. The first approach by internet is advised. Tmall and JD.com control the vast majority of e-commerce in China, so it makes sense to use them for easy visibility and credibility with the Chinese.
Partner with Chinese athletes
The future professional skiers going to represent China at the Olympic Games will become the idols of a generation of Chinese, the first interested in winter sports. So you need to partner with them to sponsor and promote your brand. Their community will quickly know your brand and will see you as a trusted brand with quality products. It is very important for your brand to have a good image in China because Chinese consumers have little confidence in advertising. They bring more importance to the opinion of their entourage or that of the influential personalities.
Digital marketing on social networks
The most effective way to build a community is social networks. If you already have an important community following you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, know that this is not a sufficient foundation. The Great Firewall of China will block all these Western networks and force you to come and sign up on theirs.
Need a Partner in China?
If you need a professional agency to help you get into these Chinese networks, call Gentlemen Marketing Agency!