Top 10 Sports in China

Even though China is still famous for Chinese traditional martial arts or Gongfu for western people, China is the great power where citizens are enthusiastic about numerous sports or exercises.

According to a survey by the General Administration of Sport of China in 2015, among adults age 20 and above, the most widespread means of exercise were “walking”, “running”, “ball games” (including both small balls such as table tennis and badminton, and large balls like soccer or basketball), and “square dancing”.

In China, the middle class in particular has time for running, fitness, table tennis, and basketball, but also for winter sports and soccer.

In addition to the massive state promotion of elite sports, there are many sports trends that recreational athletes in China are discovering for themselves. We present the top 10 sports in China here.

1. Running 跑步

Running is regarded as the most popular and the most important sport for Chinese people. 44 percent of sports-playing Chinese count running among their main activities.

The explosive popularity of long distance running in China can be seen from the number of major (more than 800 runners) marathon events registered each year. This number has grown 50 times in the past few yeas, from only 22 events in 2011, to 1102 events last year.

“In 2016, there were over one million marathon runners in China,” says China expert Martin Kössler. He accompanies sports and outdoor firms in their market entrance in China, among other things.

2. Badminton 羽毛球

Badminton is one of the favorite sports in China. You can find people play badminton alongside streets or in parks.  Due to its convenience, Badminton let the Chinese people can do sports almost everywhere and every time. It is also a popular China national game.

One report stated that more than 4.7 million RMB is being spent every day on badminton equipment online in China.

Chinese people love to play badminton also owing to several famous badminton players. The two-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion Lin Dan, is one of the greatest sports idols in all of China and famous all throughout Asia. ESPN counts him among the 100 most famous athletes in the world.

3. Swimming 游泳

Swimming now gradually becomes the national sport and popular among the all ranges of people.

Swimming pools have become more popular in recent years, not just among older generations and emerged the problem of being too crowded. For example, after the Beijing Olympics, the Water Cube has been opened to the public for a pretty affordable price when there are no races or events.

Besides swimming, diving is also popular among Chinese people but only for visual entertainment. The diving aroused Chinese people duo to the astonishing performance in all sorts of major international matches.

4. Basketball 篮球

play basketball


Pick-up basketball is pretty popular among young people in urban areas. In high schools, the basketball players are seen by girls as being cooler or more hip than the soccer players.

China is the largest international market for the NBA. Over 18 percent of Chinese athletes play basketball.

The popularity among Chinese people also is owing to a Chinese legendary basketball player-Yao Ming. Yao Ming is the first Chinese player who had an important impact in the N.B.A. and also the first Chinese athlete superstar in the world. The American media praised him as a savior for the NBA sports. In 2006, he received the title of the China’s most influential athlete ever. The basketball is one of the most watched sports in China.

5. Yoga 瑜伽

yoga in china

The yoga market is growing fast and become more profitable in China. However the people who tend to do yoga count for more women than men. A quick search on Dianping just now gave me more than 2000 yoga studios in Beijing. It’s as cheap or as exclusive as you want to make it, and women think it makes them slimmer.

6. Football 足球

Soccer might outstrip basketball. The percentage of Chinese athletes who also play soccer is already at 12 percent. The Chinese leadership has proclaimed the ambitious goal of winning the 2050 World Cup title.

There are set to be 50,000 soccer academies in China in 2025. Therefore China has the ambition for revitalization, maybe because before the Chinese football’s professionalization in 1994, Chinese football level was respectable.

Foreign professionals can sweeten the twilight years of their careers here. Among the most renowned soccer players to have agreed to a transfer to China, for example, are the Argentinian Carlos Tevez, the Brazilian Hulk, and Jackson Martinez. The Columbian switched from Atletico Madrid to the Guangzhou Evergrande in 2016 for 42 million euros. The football is one of the most watched sports in China.

7. Table Tennis 乒乓球

Pingpong is a natinal sport of China. Chinese Ping Pong players have won 60% of the men’s World Championships since 1959 and almost all of women’s World Championships since 1971. The Ping Pong sports plays an important role in China’s history. IIn 1972, the the US table tennis team were invited to visit China and play with Chinese team, which became the well-known “Ping Pong Diplomacy.”

8. Volleyball 排球


Volleyball is pursued by Chinese people. China women’s national volleyball team is one of the leading teams in worldwide women’s volleyball sports, The team have won the Olympic titles for twice in 1984 and 2004. China once obtained five consecutive world titles in the 1980s. Though with an unstable development in the later 1990s, the team rose again and won the World Cup title in 2003 and won the gold medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics.

9. Bicycling 骑自行车


China was dubbed the “Kingdom of Bicycles.” The whole country owned about 500 million bicycles by 1987. One bicycle is for every two people of the total population. Bicycles are an important means of transportation and could be found everywhere in the country. However, with the fast development, more and more people began to use public transportation or private car.

10. Chinese martial art 中国功夫

Chinese martial art

Chinese martial art is an important part in Chinese traditional culture; it is regarded as the essence of Chinese culture. Its skills include different forms of fighting such as fist fights, weapon fights, and various fighting routines. Chinese martial art enjoys a long history and great popularity in the old country.

Hope you get all information that you search about Sports in China. Sport is really developing well in China, and a lot of opportunities exist for Sport Brands in China.

9 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    I love China no matter how good or bad it is I consider that every county and state is GOOD.

  2. nathan violette says:

    it is soccer:)

  3. capgod says:

    Iike all of them I learned that in chicago we play soccer but football is they soccer

  4. Sally Douglas says:

    I LOVE martial arts though i have never actually done it but i have watched it and i want to learn.

  5. Bob stone says:

    I love these games but I prefer eating urinal cake it’s so yummy my dog gave it to me on my birthday

  6. Rhino says:

    football is not soccer

    • pinkpony573 says:

      Hey Rhino,
      Soccer is actually called Football in China. Just like England.
      Other countries where the word soccer is common include those that, like the United States, have competing forms of football. For instance, Canada has its own version of gridiron football; Ireland is home to Gaelic football; and Australia is mad about Australian rules football (which is derived from rugby).
      Rugby football” became “rugger” for short. “Association football” became “soccer.” After these two sports spread across the Atlantic, Americans invented their own variant of the game that they simply called “football” in the early 1900s. … British people stopped saying “soccer” because of its American connotations.

    • Mack says:

      yes it is in some regions

  7. Philip cage says:

    This is great sports list they’ll Actually keep your fitness and healthy, I love football that’s my hobby while my sister’s love riding bicycle

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