Sup­pli­ers in fast lane as China em­braces win­ter sports

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By CHAIHUA in Hong Kong grace@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Anta Sports Prod­ucts Ltd, China’s big­gest ath­let­ics ap­parel com­pany, said it plans to launch its first snow sports prod­uct un­der its own brand this year — as the do­mes­tic ski­ing mar­ket and other win­ter ac­tiv­i­ties are ex­pected to be on track for a ma­jor boost.

The com­pany said it would ex­pand more in the high-end seg­ment of the mar­ket, in line with the gen­eral con­sumer mar­ket shift to­ward pre­mium brands in China.

“When a coun­try get more de­vel­oped eco­nom­i­cally, their con­sumers tend to go for high­end ac­tiv­i­ties,” said Robert Koepp, di­rec­tor of the con­sul­tancy, the Econ­o­mist Cor­po­rate Net­work.

Koepp added that ski­ing and other down­hill snow sports were typ­i­cal ex­am­ples of the more high­end ac­tiv­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to data of the Econ­o­mist In­tel­li­gence Unit, China’s 600 or so ski re­sorts re­ceived only 12.5 mil­lion vis­its in 2015, while about 53.9 mil­lion peo­ple hit the slopes on moun­tains in the United States dur­ing the same pe­riod.

Koepp be­lieves that dis­par­ity shows the po­ten­tial scale that China could even­tu­ally ramp up to with its win­ter sports. He also said the Bei­jing 2022 Win­ter Olympics was a ma­jor op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote win­ter sports in the na­tion.

James Zheng, Anta’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said the com­pany would launch its own snow sports­wear in the fourth quar­ter of the cur­rent year.

Anta has al­ready started to ex­plore the mar­ket, form­ing a joint ven­ture with Ja­panese brand Des­cente Ltd at the be­gin­ning of 2016. Zheng said it was tar­get­ing China’s high-end pro­fes­sional sports mar­ket, es­pe­cially win­ter ac­tiv­i­ties.

He dis­closed the Anta brand would shift to tar­get­ing fam­i­lies with an an­nual in­come of 100,000 to 150,000 yuan in­come, as op­posed to the cur­rent fo­cus on those with a yuan in­come.

Zheng also said his com­pany aimed to grow at a faster pace than the in­dus­try av­er­age in 2017, which was about 8 to 10 per­cent an­nu­ally, and its on­line trad­ing was ex­pected to in­crease by dou­ble dig­its.

But the Econ­o­mist Cor­po­rate Net­work also warned in an in­dus­try re­port that for­eign sports­wear com­pa­nies would have a ma­jor­ity share of the mid to high-end mar­ket by 2020 in China.

Anta, which has a mar­ket value of over HK$55 bil­lion ($7 bil­lion), recorded 47.9 per­cent growth in net prof­its in the first half of 2016. 60,000 to 100,000

When a coun­try get more de­vel­oped eco­nom­i­cally, their con­sumers tend to go for high-end ac­tiv­i­ties.”

REUTERS

Work­ers are seen on a COSCO con­tainer ves­sel, as it ar­rives to Co­coli locks af­ter cross­ing the Panama Canal to the Pa­cific side.

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