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Q: Why are gyms so expensive in China?

I've been looking around for gyms recently and they are all so expensive. Or cheap and really crap. Why is this? And what's worse is that despite not having that many members, they won't lower their price to get the sale. So they'd rather have an empty gym than give me an extra few kuai off the price. 

5 years 25 weeks ago in  Lifestyle - China

 
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Posts: 2494

Emperor

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You cant look for logic, you can just understand.
Gyms arent exactly a necessity in China. For foreigners and the upper class generally. Its a new status symbol, so althought most customers will have trouble using any of the equiptment. They surely do not have any trouble to pay for membership.

I would also guess that the owner isnt exactly a fitness freak who believes in good health and mind for all. Probably , its an ego buy where making a profit is not exactly number 1 on the agenda. Kind of like some guy that opens up a wine bar next to 2 other wine bars nowhere near the city but near a nice garden.

As money isnt an issue , they would much rather keep face and lose money then admit that what they are doing isnt working and they cant in fact charge a fortune to use a treadmill.

They would much rather close after losing interest.

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5 years 25 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2535

Emperor

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Mike is pretty much dead-on. Foreigners can usually get discounts as long as you promise to go a lot and maybe chat with the members here and there. It gives them all face and adds more to that "We are the elite and rich" feelings they want to give off. 

 

I go to a gym during the afternoon to avoid large crowds and gawkers. My gym is decent but people still sort of stare (but then again, I lift pretty heavy and max out all the machines). I only paid like 699 yuan for the year and it is directly in down town center. 

 

Be sure you are looking for a membership at a public gym and not some stupid health club. Health clubs are more elitist and charge like 4k - 10k RMB per year. They normally have nice empty pools and saunas etc. But... you will see get the people gawking, smoking and spitting. Even more so... I find the rich elitist types that go to those things are even worse than the public gym-goers. 

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5 years 25 weeks ago
 
Posts: 4109

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How much are you looking to pay and how much is too expensive?

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5 years 25 weeks ago
 
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I've often wondered the same question myself.  Most gyms are overly expensive for what they aught to be, even the ones that aren't epensive.  The best gyms seem to be all sparkly and give you tons of options that you'd never really expect to see in a gym.  "bike rooms" or sauna rooms, or having staff that do nothing but service you your locker key.    Those gyms that are 3000+ - 5000+ a year, they seem to only have one or two peicesof equipment that can give you a different angle.That's sorta pathetic.

 

I think of it as a population versus relative interest thing.  The majority of Chinese guys are still not interested in working out.   Meaning there's not going to be a lot of gyms around. Considering a relatively low number of gyms for what is essentially a giant population (think about how many gyms the US has ) then that creates a supply problem.

 

Furthermore... if they did charge significantly cheaper prices, you'd have the problem of overcrowding.  Gym memberships have to last for at least a few months, half a year, or a full year.  You don't wanna issue out too many at a low price, because then you'd get lower returns on the cheaper memberships you sold yet you'd have a full ass gym all the time due to the increase in the sales volume you did by lowering the price to meet the needs of a lower income customer bracket.  Lower revenue and a full gym, 2 things no gym owner would want for their gym.

 

  Also, in recent years the gym industry had quite a bit of trouble.  Higher prices seem to be what's keeping it afloat now.

 

 

 

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5 years 25 weeks ago
 
Posts: 1559

Shifu

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Property prices and the associated rent isn't helping.  A friend of mine (local Chinese guy) looked into renting out a few places to open a small gym to compete with the one and only local currently operating gym (current annual membership fee is 2000 rmb).  The bottom line was he couldn't find a place big enough to accommodate enough members at a reasonable membership fee to cover much more than the cost of rent, let alone factoring in utilities, staff wages, and equipment purchases.  This is in a super small 4th tier city....can only imagine the difficulties in a big city.

 

At 2000 rmb/year, the local gym is still packed to the gills at peak hours; it's a battle to get an open treadmill, or some floor space for free weight exercise between the hours of 6-8pm.  2000 rmb, imho, is high.  For a third of that price, I can go to my local recreation center in the US with much more space and amenities.

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5 years 25 weeks ago
 
Posts: 15714

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Because in China, they have free 'gyms' outside by the housing complexes, so inside gym is something very special.

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5 years 25 weeks ago
 
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In Beijing there are so many foreigners that the staring thing isn't really a problem. But on the flip side of that coin is that you can't get a discount just for being a foreigner who wants to go to their gym. We were quoted 3,000 for 6 months. 500 a month, but it includes tennis, squash, a pool, a pool table, table tennis, jacuzzi, sauna and a gym obviously. So you're getting good bang for your buck. But it's still steep. I wouldn't mind paying 2-3k for a year. 

 

My university here in Beijing has a great gym for only around 1,300 for a year but it's too far from where I live now. Think it's subsidised for students!

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5 years 25 weeks ago
 
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Gyms are for the rich, who wants to buy some face. The rest walk backwards while screaming toward the moon. 

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5 years 25 weeks ago
 
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I had this experience some weeks ago, at the end I asked our school's dance teacher, of course she likes to go to the gym, she found a new gym in a city mall, not so big, not so small, but comfortable, dance rooms, bikes, ping pong, lockers, etc.

 

She helped me to get the half year membership for 800 RMB, not bad.

 

The one year one was 1,200 RMB maybe, the half year was a special situtation because maybe I will not be here more than half year more.

 

I'm in Hunan by the way

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5 years 24 weeks ago
 
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I go to a gym,its cheap but the people i see every day are cool,Iam the only foreigner that goes to the gym.

no special treatment

no one looks at me in a strange way.

its all good

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8 weeks 6 days ago
 
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