• Denis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 11th February


Hello Industry Friends, here are the very latest news and insights from China.


📰 Headlines: Eileen Gu lands gold and breaks Weibo, Winter goods on the up, Su Yiming rises, Xiaohongshu is hot for winter sports content, IOC gets in with NFTs, China’s women seal historic title, luxury market reaps $73B, and we take a look at the best Chinese New Year campaigns from sports organisations.

 

🗞️ Top Industry News Golden Girl Gu Crashes Internet Olympic gold medalist and the most talked-about athlete at the Games, Eileen Gu, crashed China’s Weibo, as tens of millions of her fans jumped online to celebrate her final-jump win and claim her first gold medal of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Read more on CNN (English) and Xinhua (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: Winter sports is on the up and the country has a new champion to idolise. Back in ‘08 when Liu Xiang won the 110m Hurdles at the Beijing Summer Olympics, a historic rise in running took off over the next decade in China, with the sport arguably #1 in China today. Look for this win by Eileen Gu as a springboard, not only for the popularity of skiing, but for all Winter sports. Winter Sporting Goods Witness Huge Growth Online purchases of equipment and clothing from mega local brands such as Anta Sports have surged, as well as physical stores left with empty shelves. Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com said sales of ski products on its platform for Jan 31 to Feb 4 tripled from the same period last year, while ski goggle sales jumped 15x and sales of figure skates and ice hockey sticks also soared. Read more on Reuters (English) and Global Times (Chinese) Su Yiming Gets China’s Fans On Board

The 17-year-old breakout star of Beijing 2022 stole the headlines early on in the Olympics by claiming silver in the final of the men’s snowboard slopestyle, although many experts commented that the athlete should have won gold. Read more on SCMP (English) and Xinhua (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: Keep an eye on this talent! Represented by Endeavor China, the former child actor was trending top of all the social charts following his silver medal. Youthful, energetic, and a natural in front of the camera, it’s not just Eileen Gu painting a bright winter sports future for China - Su Yiming is also leading the charge.


Xiaohongshu Sees Winter Sports Surge The popular lifestyle sharing platform, since the Beijing Winter Olympics started in January, has seen the number of posts on the platform containing “skiing” increase by 232% year on year. To add, during the Winter Olympics, young users have explored and shared many new ski resorts and skiing skills. In 2021 and 2022, ice and snow sports were selected as one of the top ten life trends on the platform. Read more on Pandaily (English) and ChinaZ (Chinese)


IIHF Appoints Wu Jing as Ambassador The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) appointed the famous Chinese actor and director as it looks to increase the popularity of the sport in China. The IIHF is riding the winter sports wave and has been publishing content on social media platforms in China to educate the market about the sport. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Ecosports (Chinese) IOC Launches NFT-based Game for Winter Olympics ‘Olympic Games Jam: Beijing 2022’ developed by nWay, is a blockchain game studio owned by Animoca Brands. The developer’s games reward users with NFTs in a ‘play-to-earn’ format as they progress through different stages. Users can compete across sports including snowboarding and skiing, whilst using their own avatars. Read more on Sport Industry (English) and Tencent (Chinese) China Women’s Team Claim AFC Title in Epic Comeback The 3-2 victory over South Korea in the final of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup sees China once again crowned champion after 16 years, marking the 9th AFC title for China women’s national football team. This trophy was followed by a loss of China men’s national football team to Vietnam. Read more on SCMP (English) and Xinhua (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: There was as much pride taken in celebrating the women’s team victory as there was in using it as an opportunity to poke fun at the men’s team. Countless memes, images and videos circulated online highlighting the shame of the men’s Vietnam loss. Quite the opposite for China's women though, who can now boast an AFC title to their growing reputation globally, following a disappointing World Cup in 2019. Double Fish Named WTT Global Partner The Guangzhou-based brand will supply the official ball for the 2022 and 2023 World Table Tennis Championships, one WTT Grand Smash tournament per year and all women’s WTT tour events. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Sina (Chinese)


 

🕹️ Esports


China Esports Blast: January January saw VSPN, one of the biggest Chinese esports companies publicly announce their plans to IPO on Hong Kong Stock Exchange, as the business of esports in China continued to evolve and develop with new sponsorships and partnerships. Every month Mailman will share the biggest stories from China along with expert analysis on why this matters. Read more on Mailman (English)

 

🤔 Opinion Eileen Gu Propels Chinese Brands into the Global Limelight Beijing 2022 has catapulted dozens of Chinese brands into the global limelight, giving them unprecedented airtime to showcase their stuff on the world stage. SCMP highlights the top companies and brands across a multitude of industries that are basking under the limelight, as official sponsors and advertisers. Read more on SCMP (English) 5 Creative Chinese New Year Campaigns Chinese New Year is a time when brands get extra creative with culture-focused marketing campaigns. DAO Insights has put together its Top 5 creative campaigns. Read more on DAO Insights (English) Eileen Gu is China’s Hottest Commodity In today’s celebrity-obsessed age of social media, Eileen Gu is every marketer’s dream. She is a freestyle skiing phenomenon with a multicultural background - and she also happens to look like a runway model. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Gu is smart and speaks fluent Mandarin with a strong Beijing accent. Jing Daily takes a deeper dive into why she’s so popular (English)

 

🗞️ Other news


China’s Luxury Spending Hit $73.6B in 2021, Eyes 2025 Top Spot $73.6B represents a 36% rise from the year before, and almost double compared to that of 2019. This is a strong growth despite continuous disruptions from the ongoing pandemic, showing the resilience of China’s luxury market, which is on track to be the world’s largest luxury market by 2025. Read more on CNBC (English) and Wenhui Daily (Chinese)


Weibo Deletes 41K+ Posts for ‘Creating Trouble’ During Winter Olympics Weibo also banned 850 accounts from posting on its platform, as it clamps down further on user-generated content. Its action followed the online abuse heaped on Zhu Yi, the US-born figure skater who fell during her Winter Olympics debut for Team China. Read more on SCMP (English)

 

Chinese New Year - Creative Highlights

  • BVB - released a CNY celebration video with BVB stars

  • BWF - invited fans to share their wishes for the Year of Tiger in one word

  • Chelsea - greeting videos from players and a chance to win special edition prizes

  • David Beckham - celebrated CNY by cooking a popular Chinese fish dish

  • DRL - a mash-up video with drone freestyle footage in China to wish everyone an adventurous year

  • Evil Geniuses - EG players delivered local greetings and offered special prizes

  • FIFA - produced an animation video of the journey back home reviewing the football year

  • IOC - a tiger in Chinese ink painting style in the poster to celebrate CNY

  • Juventus - a video sharing the journey Juventus took in 2021 through a fan’s perspective

  • LA Rams - a poster of the animated character of with Chinese style

  • Man Utd - created a Year of the Tiger hero video to celebrate with their fans, which is dubbed by Liu Jia (aka. the voice of CCTV5's Total Soccer show) and features a unique tiger animation

  • MLB - unique animated MLB CNY poster matched with a chance to win the limited edition MLB red envelope cover

  • New England Patriots - unique design of combining tigers and Patriots’ logo

  • NFL - a poster with CNY elements and animated players of the 4 NFL teams in the Conference Finals

  • NHL - combined elements of the famous lion dance and tigers with ice hockey

  • Panini - used Panini sports trading cards piecing together the words Happy Chinese New Year

  • PSG - silhouettes of Chinese classic characters featured in the CNY poster

  • Roland Garros - an original animation video integrating French culture, clay tennis and Chinese traditional elements

  • Sevilla - combined the tiger with animated images of players

  • Tottenham Hotspur - combined the club’s mascot, tiger, and the animated images of Son Heung-min and Tang Jiali in the CNY poster

  • US Open - image of Emma Raducanu holding the trophy was immersed in the poster while fans were invited to create CNY blessings

  • WTT - a video of Chinese table tennis athletes giving new year blessings

  • Supreme Committee of Delivery & Legacy - a video of fireworks in the Qatar World Cup stadium to celebrate CNY

 

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Founded in 1999, Mailman is China's leading sports digital marketing agency. We help the world's most ambitious sports organisations, teams, athletes and brands build a winning business in China. Through rich storytelling, unforgettable fan experiences and strong partnerships, we cement the foundation for sustained success. Mailman is an Endeavor company. Learn more about our story here.

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