Intl firms at CIIE gear up for Beijing Winter Olympics, eyeing growth market
Chinese flock to snow, ice sports
Published: Nov 06, 2021 08:25 PM
Exhibitors display winter clothing and skiing equipment at the CIIE in Shanghai on November 6. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Exhibitors display winter clothing and skiing equipment at the CIIE in Shanghai on November 6. Photo: Li Hao/GT

From ski apparel and equipment, to snowboards and sports shoes, exhibitors of CIIE are gearing up for the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, eyeing for China's winter sports market which is expected to grow to 1 trillion yuan ($156.29 billion) by 2025. Elements of the 2022 Beijing Olympic were everywhere to be seen across venues at this year's CIIE event.

Italian outdoor brand Crispi showcased a series of outdoor shoes inspired by Bing Dwen Dwen, the mascot of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and and Shuey Rhon Rhon, the mascot of the Paralympic Winter Games, in a bid to tap into the growing Chinese winter sports market. 

Following their debut at the CIIE, the Winter Olympics series will soon become available at its Tmall store and offline sales channels across China, the Global Times was told by the exhibitor.

At the booth of Italian sports fashion brand FILA, the Global Times reporter witnessed an interactive experience zone with coaches giving performance tips for snowboard and double-board skiing, their beautiful and dynamic movements are one of the reasons that Chinese people have so rapidly embraced ski sports. 

The brand also prepared a global premiere of professional ski apparel that it developed with Italian ski brand VIST at this year's CIIE.

"We hope that through CIIE, more Chinese consumers will get a comprehensive picture of snow sports, and experience the fun of ice and snow," Brian Yiu, CEO of FILA China, told the Global Times.

In addition, the CIIE has also set up a special ice carnival, providing fun skating and skiing experience to visitors using virtual reality (VR) technologies.

Market penetration

Though the European and US ice and snow markets are more mature compared with the emerging Chinese market, exhibitors are optimistic about the latter's growth potential, brought by the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Many expect that the winter sports event can cultivate a new generation of winter sports lovers. With the growth of new venues, demand for winter sports clothing, equipment and products is expected to grow in lockstep.

"We predict that the Beijing Winter Olympics will promote and accelerate consumption of skiing and related winter sports market in the near future," Liu Lili, a marketing manager from Crispi told the Global Times. 

"Limited international travel caused by the pandemic is expected to further boost more winter sports consumption at the domestic market."

Liu said the company will increase investment in China by at least 10 percent next year, "as the performance of the Chinese market has given us great confidence," she noted.

Since Beijing won the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics in 2015, China has accelerated the accessibility of winter sports, vowing to attract 300 million Chinese to winter sports. 

China's ice and snow industry has developed rapidly over recent years. In 2019, the sector was worth around 420 billion yuan, representing an increase of about 55.6 percent compared with 270 billion yuan in 2015, according to a report on the development of China's winter sports industry released in September.

It is expected that by 2022, the number of skating venues in China will hit 650, ski resorts will reach 800 and the total snow tracks will cover an area of more than 70 million square meters, according to a snow sports construction plan issued by the General Administration of Sport.

With national income level rising and people's awareness of sports and fitness increasing, snow sports have developed quickly, Yiu said.

"While China has a land mass and a huge population, with many venues suitable for winter sports are located in the northern parts of the country, this represents remarkable potential for the winter sports market," he noted.

Graphics: GT

Graphics: GT

Looking beyond 

By 2025, China's snow sports industry is expected to reach 1 trillion yuan in size, equivalent to one fifth of the overall scale of China's sports economy.

Seizing the opportunity, French sporting goods retailer Decathlon is planning the global launch of an innovative ski board for children aged between one and four years, addressing the problems that traditional skating products are too heavy for small kids.

"China's snow sports industry is experiencing its fastest growth period in history. We hope that when these small children will learn to love playing in the snow, and that they will make great contributions to the industry," Yang Zhongxiao, the ski development director from Decathlon told the Global Times.