“Outdoor is at the foothills of development, but will soon be at base camp, and ready to climb the mountain,” said Matthew Jung, GM, Greater China for Jack Wolfskin. “It’s fun to be at the cusp of a huge moment.”
Recreational camping used to be a niche in China, but now it’s become a bit of a rage. The China outdoor market reached $60 billion in 2018 and is expected to hit $100 billion by 2025. By all estimates, around 100 million Chinese experience the outdoors every year.
“About 90% of the growth in outdoor is coming from 1st tier and 2nd tier cities,” says Jung, “so there remains a huge opportunity to get the public acquainted with the beauty and splendor of the outdoors.”
Why has outdoor activities such as camping and hiking become so big in China? “The discovery of the outdoors is the mark of a maturing society,” says Jung. “Outdoors began as a social activity and has become an important activity for families. There’s also a health aspect to it.”
Jung points out the evolution of experiencing the outdoors as starting with the basics. “It could start with people pitching tents in city parks, but it later manifests into taking hikes, then treks. It quickly progresses.”
Jung, an industry veteran from his days at Nike and Converse, still believes that foreign brands can actively compete in China, despite local brands having clear advantages. “Foreign brands have to be very personal and understanding of the culture. It’s not outrageous to think that foreign brands can be successful in China. When it’s done right, and you have a long term view and deep motivation, you can absolutely do it, ” said Jung.
Matthew Jung’s interview is available on the Shanghai Zhan podcast, a "raw, lively, and regular debate about China tech, advertising, creativity and the intersection of it all", hosted by Ali Kazmi and Bryce Whitwam.