China has one of the world widest sea frontages. However the potential of this land is far from being exploited to its fullest. As the white skin remains an ideal of beauty in China (because the tanned complexion recalls that of the peasants working in the fields), beach activities are therefore very little developed compared to the potential of the country! However, the trend is starting to change. An activity has gained more and more popularity in the recent years: that is the one of surfing!

The surf market : Why is it so promising?

With the economic development of China, the population has seen its purchasing power increase. This gives them a larger share of the budget to spend on leisure. The Chinese love to travel, especially inside their country. The government has introduced new laws regarding paid holidays since 2008. This allows them to travel more often than before, with a larger budget. For those looking for exoticism but not having the means to go far away, the country has many beaches to offer tourists a big change of scenery. It is in these destinations that the Chinese are willing to spend a lot. Especially in activities that will be unique and original for them!

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Where to invest?

Hainan is the smallest province in China, located between Vietnam and the Philippines. Although still little known from the West, this beautiful island with long white sand beaches is getting more and more popular. Over the years, it has become a major tourism asset for China. The Chinese government has invested a lot in making the island the “Hawaii of China”. Located at the same latitude as Miami, Hainan enjoys an ideal climate for surfing. In addition to its turquoise waters, long beaches and perfect waves, the surfing spot remains far less crowded than compared to other countries’. This is thus every surfer’s paradise! The growing number of students in surf schools on the island proves the growing interest of the Chinese for this sport. The World Surf League (WSL), which is responsible for organizing surfing competitions around the world, has even added Hainan as a spot for its events.

The reasons for this potential

  • A changing population

A country with 1.4 billion inhabitants is necessarily an interesting market to conquer! With their boosted purchasing power and their bad opinion of the tan that is starting to fade, China is a great potential for the surf market. More and more schools of surfing, events and surf shop were born in China. Protest, a brand for “riders, on the snow as on the waves” has even established in Beijing and Shanghai after knowing a great success in Europe. This is the proof that the market in China is ready to welcome this type of stores.

  • Government efforts

While Chinese surf spots have been set aside for a long time in China, the Chinese government is now using the sport to promote the touristic attraction of the island of Hainan. The fauna and flora of the island represents a strong economic potential! Knowing that locals are increasingly looking for thrills and unique experiences, the appeal of surfing can bring a lot of tourists to Hainan, which delights the government.

  • A spot that is getting more and more popular

Hainan Island has become increasingly popular for surfers around the world. It is one of the few spots still so good and not too crowded. It has also hosted several surfing events: the Swatch Grils Pro, the Hainan Classic, the ISA China Cup etc.

Other emerging spots…

Xichong, a coastal town two hours away from Shenzhen, at the end of Daya Bay, is the newest surf spot in the country!



How to enter this market?

If you have your own website, it would be wise to translate it into Mandarin and reference it on Baidu. However, this will be far from ensuring success in the e-commerce market. Indeed, the two largest Chinese platforms already control ¾ of the market: Tmall and Selling your products will make them more visible and more accessible to Chinese consumers.

  • Make partnerships with Chinese surfers

To have high visibility quickly in China, very few methods are as effective as partnerships with KOLs. In addition, as professional surfers in China are still very few, surfers will see these athletes as their “idols”. Working with them would also allow the Chinese to easily trust your brand.

  • Promote your brand on Chinese social networks

Implementing your brand in China without promoting its brand on Chinese networks is unthinkable. You must create your community; however censorship in China will force you to register on their own networks. You will have to learn how to use Wechat, Weibo etc.

For more help with your marketing strategy to locate in China, please contact Gentlemen Marketing Agency.

GMA is a digital agency composed of 50 experts with 8years of experience in China. Every day we help a multiple of international companies to enter in Chinese market. More than a simple marketing agency , we bring you ROI(Return on Investment). Don’t waste your time and money, Contact us!

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