Chinese City Now Produces One Third of the World’s Treadmills
According to China Daily, one Chinese city now produces one third of the world’s treadmills. China’s Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau says that 2011 saw a thirty per cent increase to $650 million of total fitness equipment exports from the eastern coastal city of Xiamen, about a quarter of the country’s total.
Xiamen is the second largest city in Fujian province and was one of the original four Special Economic Zones established during the 1980s. When costs later increased dramatically for Taiwanese manufacturers, many manufacturers moved to the Chinese mainland. Now the city hosts holds more than eighty fitness equipment manufacturers. Xiamen’s administrative district recently approved an “exported fitness equipment quality and safety demonstration area” for its fitness equipment manufacturers. This public district coordinates training, manufacturing, and exporting.
The United States is the largest consumer of most fitness equipment, about forty per cent of the market. Chinese sales to the U.S. and Europe grow about 20 per center per year, but the industry in China has been transitioning from simply manufacturing parts and complete units for U.S. companies to being more involved in the design and marketing.
Chinese companies are also now manufacturing and selling its own brands for sale within China and elsewhere. According to Ryan Lee, General Manager of Xiamen Cowell Industrial Ltd., which supplies U.S. giant ICON Health & Fitness, new treadmills that have interactive, high-tech features sell well in newer markets like Brazil and Russia, where sales have more than doubled each of the past few years. He also says that western buyers like to buy their fitness equipment at malls, while the Chinese prefer to shop through specialized agents or stores.