Foreign workout videos have rapidly gained popularity in China where “fitness fever” has swept the nation.
Last month, Shanghai office lady Zhu Ling posted a photo on WeChat of herself in a yellow sports bra, flaunting firm, flat abs and shapely, muscular arms. The picture quickly gained many “thumbs ups” from friends.
Zhu says positive feedback from her friends motivates her to stick to her daily exercise routine using an aerobics workout video by South Korean fitness guru Jung Da-yeon. Jung has millions of Chinese fans. It is estimated that links to her aerobics videos on Youkou and Tudou – the country’s two leading video-sharing platforms – have exceeded 700 million.
“A nice figure has become a fundamental need for more and more Chinese women in big cities,” said Lian Dao, founder of Shanghai-based fitness website. “It’s not hard to feel the ‘fitness fever’ by counting how many of your friends have shared their gym pictures on WeChat lately."
Also trying to cash in on the booming fitness market is Wang Tianhua, owner of the newly opened CrossFit Slash gym in Sanlitun, Beijing. The gym, which opened last month, drew nearly 700 members in just four weeks, more than half of them women.
“China’s gym market has reached the point where consumers are willing to pay good prices for good services,” Wang said, adding that he broke even in the first month of operating the gym.
One of the gym’s members is Yang Yang, who works at a bridal store.
“I follow a number of celebrities on Weibo, and you know what? Their number of fans often increases after they post a gym picture,” Yang said. “It’s not only because they look prettier and healthier with regular exercise, but it also reflects that these celebrities are people with perseverance and good self-discipline. I hope I can also do a good job in this aspect.”