What’s happening in the Chinese fitness market generally? The penetration rate is currently low, but the market is growing very quickly. People in the larger cities are becoming more focused on preventative health and are increasingly willing to spend a portion of their income on that – our classes cost around US$22–25 in China and just under US$20 in Taiwan. This is also a society in which people are very driven by the desire to share their experiences on social media. Indeed, China is so connected online that its ability to share and grow trends – something that’s powerfully connected to millennial social media behaviour – means it will go through this cycle at a much faster rate than most countries. We’re already seeing huge growth of the fitness
RIDE ON January 2019
sector in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities – Tier 1 being those with between 10 and 30 million people, so Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Chengdu, and then with Tier 2 as well you get up to about 20 cities. We’re currently seeing the massive scaling of mass market models similar to Anytime Fitness and 24Hour Fitness. These will grow first, rolling out across second, third, fourth tier cities. But after that we’ll see online fitness and the boutiques come to the fore, with consolidation of the big boxes giving way to more segmentation of the market, just as we’ve seen in markets like the US. I expect all of this segmentation to happen within 24–36 months: China will catch up faster than any other developed society in the history of boutique fitness.