Local brands to set snow-clothing world on fire
Li Xuan, 25, an enthusiastic snowboarder, couldn’t wait to buy a snow jacket in November, just before the first snow in Beijing.
It was something special, the first Chinese brand snow jacket she had ever bought. Prior to that, she purchased all of her snow-sport clothing and equipment overseas, when she studied abroad.
“It looks cool, unlike the old fashioned style. And the price is reasonable,” said Li, who started snowboarding three years ago.
To meet demand from young skiers like Li, some Chinese winter sportswear companies are rapidly shifting toward fashionably designed and high-quality products.
Ya Chao, CEO of Minus Two Degrees Culture Co, a Beijing-based winter sportswear company, said: “More and more Chinese are showing interest in skiing. A lot of young skiers, influenced by street fashion, want to stand out.”
That’s why, the company designs the clothing especially for snowboarding lifestyles, Ya said. For example, some are hoodies with sketches and doodles, an obvious nod to street rather than traditional piste wear.
Ya said the other strategic focus of the company is research and development.
The company’s revenue was more than 3 million yuan ($430,000) during the winter season in 2015, and is projected to exceed 5 million yuan in the coming winter, according to Ya.
Industry data show that the number of Chinese skiers increased steadily in the last few winter seasons. Ski visits reached 12.5 million in 2015, up 21.36 percent over the previous year, according to a white paper on skiing industry published earlier this year.
It seems that China will soon rank among the big players of the industry, independent consultant Laurent Vanat, a sector specialist, wrote in the 2016 Interna-
Current policies create opportunities for Chinese winter sportswear companies ...” Liu Ning, general manager of Beijing Fu Yi Ning Trading Co expected number of ski visits in China by 2022, according to an industry report
revenue of Minus Two Degrees Culture Co, a Beijing-based winter sportswear firm, in 2015
tional Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism.
Vanat wrote that there could be 40 million ski visits by 2022, as the government recently proposed a plan that it would encourage 300 million Chinese to participate in winter sports.
Beijing Fu Yi Ning Trading Co, an outdoor clothing company, said it has also been building its own brand.
“Current policies and plans create opportunities for Chinese winter sportswear companies to grow, especially at the time when foreign brands are transferring their factories out of China to cheaper places,” said its company general manager Liu Ning.
“But it will take some time for sportswear manufacturers, the downstream part of the value chain, to benefit from the favorable policies.”
Liu said his company tailored products for different market segments. Jackets and pants for snowboarding tend to be more fashionably designed, while those for skiing are more fitted and close to the body.