[Chronicle] China’s rediscovery of outdoor sports: the new impetus for tennis and golf (Part 3/3)

Sports are at the heart of Chinese consumers’ lives, and have a direct impact on luxury trends. As with outdoor sports, the Chinese have rediscovered tennis and golf, sports that nurture an aesthetic and creative universe, boosting sales tenfold.

The $5.2 billion acquisition of the Wilson tennis brand in 2019 by the Chinese Anta Group is proof of this. The deal testifies to the importance of tennis in local consumer trends. Wilson appeals not only to sportsmen and women, but also to luxury and fashion clientele who find a unique aesthetic in the brand.


Today, distributors and boutiques in China swear by this trend. They are constantly on the lookout not for classic fashion or clothing brands, but for sportswear labels inspired by the world of golf and tennis. This has given luxury a new lease of life, both in terms of marketing and retailing.


Anaïs Bournonville, founder of the Reverse Group, an international agency specializing in marketing and strategy for China, takes us on a journey to the heart of the new habits observed in the Middle Kingdom.


At the crossroads of sport and “Old Money” style in China

Although golf was long banned in China (as we saw in Part 1 of this column), it enjoyed a new lease of life during the Covid. The same is true of tennis, which went viral during containment, as many residences and compounds in China are equipped with tennis courts.


This growth has been meteoric. There are now 30,000 tennis courts in China, as many as in France. Countries like Spain and Switzerland, which have seen the rise of players like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, have 10,000 and 3,000 tennis courts respectively, representing 65% to 90% fewer facilities.


© Ryan Searle Qirj/Unsplash


While it is the trend towards outdoor sports that has driven golf and tennis, it is an entirely different dynamic that has propelled them forward. It’s the crossroads between sport and fashion: the “Old Money” style.

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Featured Photo: Ahmed CF/Unsplash+

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Anais Bournonville
Anaïs Bournonville is the founder of Reverse Group, the global agency specializing in marketing and strategy for China. She explores Chinese culture and consumer trends through the prism of design, fashion, and luxury. She puts her on-the-ground insights and social listening in China at the service of Luxus+.

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