Pandemic pushes Chinese sports technology to new heights and models – China Money Network
China’s fitness industry boomed during the pandemic. She has also sought to innovate and find new models that work better in a new, more confined lifestyle.
Investors favor food technologies and health technologies in the next ten years. This is in line with China’s national policy to focus on improving the health of the people.
In 2017, China’s fitness population reached 550 million, or 41.3% of the country’s total population. The total output value of the fitness industry has reached about 150 billion yuan, with a compound annual average growth rate of 7.7% over the past six years. It is estimated that by 2020, the total scale of national fitness consumption is expected to exceed 1.5 trillion yuan.
The pandemic has allowed fitness brands to break away from the traditional fitness business model and online fitness has become the choice of users. The national fitness market is evolving from leisure activity to a greater importance of professionalism. Fitness service providers are also changing their business models so as not to impose annual membership on users and instead are launching new service products tailored to changing user habits.
Deloitte’s “China Gym Market Development White Paper 2019-2020” pointed out that from January to May 2020, the number of active users of fitness apps stabilized at over 77 million. .
Compared to the same period last year, the number of active users increased by up to 24% in a single month.
McKinsey’s “China Consumer Report 2021” pointed out that after the pandemic, online fitness users in China increased by 23%.
Keep is the largest fitness app in China. Its online users have currently reached 200 million. After 6 years of development, Keep is no longer a purely sports social app, but has evolved to integrate the sale of smart gear, sportswear, light food and training equipment. It is a sports technology platform.
Keep launched an online live streaming service after the pandemic and worked with a number of fitness brands and fitness KOLs to create live classes. This increased user downloads.
New gyms such as Super Gorilla and Leke have used celebrity coaches to create a series of live paid online shows, short videos and other products to draw consumers to their platform.
The pandemic has caused new fitness brands to emerge in China at a faster rate. As of March 31, 2020, the live broadcast of the group class jointly launched by Leke has reached 30 million people. Its co-founder once said in an interview that the line is an inevitable trend.
The Super Monkeys online live stream was watched by over 70 million people in 25 days. The pandemic was believed to have taken Keep to new heights when its business showed signs of stagnation before the pandemic, as downloads and activity were sluggish for months.
Investors are making more bets in the sports technology sector. According to statistics from the Santi Cloud Data Center, the number of private funding for the fitness sector from 2017 to 2020 was 48, 41, 29 and 42 respectively, a constant flow of investments. According to data from Lanxiong Sports, there have been 180, 148, 87 and 53 fundings in the field of sport at large in the past four years.
Li Hongwei, managing partner of GGV Capital, said in an interview that in GGV’s current investment portfolio, the number of fitness technology brands, including Keep, is increasing.
“I believe that in the next 10 years, food technology and health technology will become the focus of venture capital, and we will also invest more in these two major axes,” said Li Hongwei.
GGV Executive Director Li Haojun also said that among the hundreds of millions of sports practitioners in China, other new data-driven and technology-driven sports brands that meet the needs of a new generation of young people fitness users will emerge.
“Compared to Europe and the United States, China has a supply chain advantage. In 2020, in the US fitness equipment import market, mainland Chinese products accounted for 64.5%, and Taiwan, China products 28.1%. But in the future, when the supply chain reaches the stage of maturity, there is not much difference in the cost benefits, therefore, brands of fitness equipment still need to improve product performance and brand premiums. In the future, the intelligence of fitness equipment is a key development direction, “said another investor Zhang Zhuoyu.
Traditional gym operators are also changing the way they operate. The popular prepaid annual membership model is generally the biggest complaint from users. The card’s reimbursement mechanism is not user-friendly and usually requires other expensive processing fees.
Gyms are issuing monthly cards, timed cards, and more flexible options. Leke and Super Gori