Chinese joggers drive running boom in China

While running has been commonplace for a long time in most Western countries, it has only started to become one of China’s national activities in recent years and is seeing growing popularity, especially amongst young Chinese.

It is understood that running was the most participated activity in the country over the past year, particularly, in China’s first-tier cities, according to the 2021 Public Exercise Behaviours and Consumption Report, published jointly by the China Sporting Goods Federation and American data analysis company Nielsen.

The growing interest from the public in this simple and universal activity, on one hand, has brought out a surge in relevant events such as marathons. China saw the number of marathons taking place in the country hit 1,828 in 2019 – a more than 30-fold increase compared to 51 in 2014.

It has also been driving the consumption of all kinds of running instruction apps and smart wristbands that are used to record runners’ exercising data. Sharing posts of themselves at running competitions and mile records has turned out to be an additional source of satisfaction.

The enthusiasm has continued to grow in China in the wake of the pandemic, as the global health crisis sounded the alarm to the Chinese people, resulting in a more health-conscious mindset and lifestyle. The low-bar exercise appears to be the go-to activity in achieving that goal.

With such a great appetite for running, sportswear brands have naturally shown no intention to miss out on the opportunity. Foreign brands like Lululemon recently chose China to be one of the first overseas markets to drop its first running shoe known as “Blissfeel” which is dedicated to women joggers, tapping into the thriving industry in China.

The latest move was made by the homegrown sports brand Xtep, who teamed up with its brand ambassadors including the beloved Chinese female actress Dili Reba and singer Fan Chengcheng for the brand’s 7th Running Festival on 20 March. Alongside the campaign, the brand also unveiled a running-themed digital collectible known as 160 x 3.0 NFT, which can be used as a ticket to the brand’s running metaverse, intending to enhance the synergy of the hyped technology and the booming industry.


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