The world’s largest sports merchandise retailer Fanatics has announced that it will launch in China. This will be an equal split joint venture with private equity fund Hillhouse Capital Group. Fanatic’s e-commerce store sells products for more than 300 teams, brands and leagues from across the world. The entry into China is thought to be part of its move to secure funding for an IPO soon.
Fanatics plan to launch e-commerce channels on Alibaba’s Tmall and Tencent’s WeChat. They hope to tap into Chinese consumers’ growing interest in sports from across the world, especially European football teams. Football is one of the top licensed sports in China and the country has put a heavy weighting on improving its homegrown talent. As well as appealing to the demand for sport as a form of entertainment, it looks to attract China’s growing number of health-conscious consumers with its sports equipment and clothing.