China: An Emerging Market – Whitepaper

China is a global sports powerhouse, with a rising domestic sports market and the eyes of the international sports industry trained upon it and its 1.37 billion citizens. Domestic leagues such as the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and Chinese Super League are professionalizing, major events like the 2022 Winter Olympics are being successfully bid for, and international teams, leagues and events are busy laying foundations in the country.

Much of this stirring interest in sport stems from the Chinese government’s plan to build a CNY5 trillion (US$813 billion) sports industry by 2025, a strategy covering everything from improved fitness to encouraging foreign investment, grassroots sport to elite performance.

Football, for example, is now part of the schools system in the country, and, as the following pages show, the push towards more active lifestyles is beginning to have a positive impact. A host of new facilities and initiatives are underway to help increase participants and create fans.

This whitepaper offers a mere snapshot of the current Chinese sporting fanscape and landscape. It underlines that, even in a market where such huge opportunities for growth beckon, the fundamentals are still vital: accurate measurement of the value being created through sponsorship and investment by brands, in all its forms, is essential, as is a forensic understanding of the market — its rising middle class, the way the country is structured and the wide divergence between its cities.

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