China has one of the world’s widest sea frontages. However, the potential of this land is far from being exploited to its fullest. As 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 recent years: that is 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!
Where to invest?
Hainan is the smallest province in China, located between Vietnam and the Philippines. Although still little known in 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 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 in 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 great potential for the surf market. More and more schools of surfing, events, and surf shops were born in China. Protest, a brand for “riders, on the snow as on the waves” has even been established in Beijing and Shanghai after knowing great success in Europe. This is proof that the market in China is ready to welcome this type of store.
- 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 tourist attraction of the island of Hainan. The fauna and flora of the island represent 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 with 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?
- Sell your products through e-commerce
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 JD.com. Selling your products will make them more visible and 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 8 years of experience in China. Every day we help multiple international companies to enter the Chinese market. More than a simple marketing agency, we bring you ROI(Return on Investment). Don’t waste your time and money, Contact us!