Internet technology has brought positive changes to China’s fitness industry amid the country’s efforts to advance its national fitness program, energizing new business models and allowing people to socialize through exercise.
New-style fitness gyms supported by digital technology have made workouts more flexible in recent years. Lefit, a 24-hour self-service gym chain based in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang province, is emblematic of the new type of gyms that young users have switched to. People are able to enter a Lefit gym by scanning a QR code at the entrance with the brand’s app and then have access to its fitness facilities.
The brand has an intelligent management system that can precisely match its users, gyms and fitness instructors, which guarantees higher operational efficiency and lower costs than conventional gyms, said its founder Han Wei, adding that the brand offers a pay-per-use model.
The brand has so far opened 754 gyms across the country and has attracted more than 6 million users, Han noted.
Technology has also seeped into the sportswear industry. With the help of big data and kinesiology, underwear brand Aimer is striving to develop new materials with less friction and higher air permeability for its yoga and running suits, according to Liu Huizhi, vice president of the company in charge of the sportswear line.
Besides, smart spin bikes that cater to the diverse needs of consumers and smart wearable devices such as sports bracelets that measure calorie expenditure during exercises have hit the market. Furthermore, smart devices launched by Keep, a popular fitness app in China, have reached 1.56 million users.
“An element of technology will make it easier for us to promote sports and the national fitness program,” said He Wenyi, secretary of the Peking University National Sports Industry Research Foundation.
Short-video platforms enable people to become socialized through exercise. When many gyms were shut down due to the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, Xu Zhe, a fitness coach, started to share relevant knowledge and advertise fitness products via live-streaming sessions on Kuaishou, a leading short-video platform in China, and eventually saw his income double.
In the past year, over 23 million users uploaded short clips related to exercise on Kuaishou, and a daily average of more than 20 million users worked out according to live-streaming fitness courses on the platform.