Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Decathlon in China: which sports for who?

Out of curiosity as I was in Shenzhen I went to visit Decathlon the french shops.
You have two Decathlon shops in Shenzhen and several in Shanghai, Guandoung, Beijing.

The shop is the exact copy of the one in France.

The main interest in that you can clearly see what sports Chinese people play.



Message @ Decathlon: Why not write at the entrance entrée in french instead of  ENTRANCE? and sortie instead of Exit. You can be proud to speak french why not?


The majority of Chinese people wear sandals in summer.
Decathlon attracts family and realizes a big part of its revenue with sport sub-products: mainly clothes, shoes.

Badmington is one of or the first sport in China.

Tennis develops quickly in China.


Sports and revenu

In China only rich people (and "middle class" who are in fact rich if you speak about China as a whole) play sport. Poor people already have exhausting physical work.

Still you can classify sports according to income:
  • Sports for more wealthy Chinese
Fishing, golfing, shooting are sports for richer people. I think that tennis is played by richer Chinese. You also have horse riding. But this sport remains limited (it is coming in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai)
  • Sports for all
You have badgmington, swimming, basketball, football, gym, tai-chi...

Different sports are played by different generation: 
  • Tai-Chi and dance in the street are the sports for the oldest Chinese. 
  • Fishing is a sport for older generations. 
  • Basketball is a sport played by younger generations "the american way" generation
  • ...


Decathlon sells a lot of gym equipment: home bike, running train... gyms invade Chine: public and private gyms at work, at your home.
It is the easiest and a cheap way to play sport.

At Decathlon I have seen mainly families: you come to have a walk, look for some clothes or for a sport article.

Decathlon produces its products in China and south asia. It was therefore worth to open its shops on the Chinese market and sell its brand products to Chinese customers.

Sport supervizion in China: from governments to companies, to private coach

I believe that it is very interesting to notice how sport was supervized in China and the evolution in time:

  • First sport was organized by the gorvernment: you had big sport events with thousand of participants dancing or doing tai-chi moves. In universities or in the street you still have these events.
  • Then sport was organized by companies. You can still see this in huge private companies. On its campus, the company organize group dances and gym. It is away to ciment employees together and attach them to the company. Also Chinese people want to be taken care of. The company is like a father. The ceo must take care of his employees. It is also some kind of motivation event.
  • Today sport is more private. You have some intimacy in a sport club, in a gym and even with a private coach or a doctor! Chinese are more individualistic.

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