All to play for

By Sun Yuanqing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-26 07:15

All to play for

As the pursuit of fitness becomes more popular in China, sports brands want to be at the forefront of the development of this culture. [Photo provided to China Daily]


Indeed, China is one of the fastest growing markets for international brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma, whose profits are swelling as more and more people engage in sports. Adidas held an event called Republic of Sports in Beijing recently in which hundreds of people took part in the national fitness campaign. An indoor venue has been put up to provide sports and fitness experience for visitors.

"We have the ambition to become the number one sports brand in the world and in China," says Marc Le Roux, VP of Sports Performance, adidas China.

"If we want to achieve this goal we need to engage people to do sports with us. It's not only about advertising and sponsoring the big teams; it's also about providing opportunities for everyday people to engage in sports and exciting sporting activities.

"The sports culture is really growing in China, and as a leading sports brand we want to be at the forefront of the development of this culture. That's why we are creating the biggest sports activation that has ever been delivered by a sports brand in China."

More than 100,000 people took part in sports activities with the brand within six weeks across four cities Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou recently. The passion for sports has developed rapidly in the country over the past few years, Le Roux says.

"Wherever I travel, in places like Shenyang, Kunming, Chengdu, Guangzhou or Beijing, I see that everywhere the passion and love for sports is growing immensely. We see more people running in the streets, going to the gym, and we see an amazing interest in football.

"I believe this is only the start. China has great people and a great culture, which is very competitive. I believe with the right level of creativity, this nation will become a leading sporting nation. This is why we promote creativity in sports, because we think this will make a difference in the future for Chinese athletes."

It is important to make these activities attractive so the interest they stir in people is not just a flash in the pan, he says.

"For people that start practicing sports, creativity is very important. We know that if we do sports, if we swim, if we run, it can be boring at times because it's very repetitive. If you don't bring a bit of creativity you will lose interest, so by adding creativity in the sports you practice, you keep the interest going and it pushes you to the next level."

Experiential marketing has become more and more significant for all brands.

Only 10 years after the Korean sports brand Kolon Sports entered the Chinese market it has 230 stores in China. The company, which founded a hiking school to cater to the rising number of outdoor enthusiasts, focuses on sports jackets, says Park Chang Yong, Kolon's vice-president.

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