Earlier this month Nike announced that it would collaborate with the Chinese Ministry of Education on training 7,000 gym teachers at 300 schools, more than double its past commitment. Meanwhile, Adidas opened more than 500 stores in Greater China last year, and plans to equal that total by the end of this year. According to China Daily, sales for the industry as a whole increased 84% from 2009 to 2014.
There are two reasons behind the growth, Bloomberg reports. For one, rising obesity is driving renewed interest in healthy eating and exercise (witness the rise of Chinese “sweaty selfies” on social media). And secondly, President Xi Jinping has discouraged public officials from buying luxury status symbols, prompting shoppers to pass on designer handbags and instead stock up on athleisure apparel.