Hydration pack manufacturer Camelbak: "China is a huge market".

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The Chinese are becoming increasingly enthusiastic about sports, and the market is booming. And the competition for market share has long since broken out: Camelbak, market leader in hydration systems and manufacturer of backpacks, is also pushing into the Chinese market. The U.S. company plans to focus on other sports in addition to its core competencies in the outdoor and bike sectors in order to benefit from the growing enthusiasm for sports in China.

Camelbak has always been a market leader when it comes to hydration solutions.
Camelbak has always been a market leader when it comes to hydration solutions.

In addition, Camelbak is exhibiting at ISPO Shanghai 2016 to present the latest collection for spring/summer 2017 to the Chinese and Asian market. In an interview with ISPO.com, Ian Steinmo, Sales Manager for the Asia-Pacific region, explains what prospects the outfitter expects in China.

ISPO.COM: The Chinese market is one of the growth markets for the sports industry. Is Camelbak already equipped for the growing competition?
Ian Steinmo: Camelbak has a long tradition in this important market and has understood how to make it clear to athletes in China what advantages our hydration systems have. We have been able to communicate our 25 years of experience to consumers here, due in no small part to the quality of our products. Consumers have realized that they can rely on our products. This has become increasingly important, because not only is the overall level of sporting activity among the Chinese increasing every year, but also the range of different sports being played.

"Camelbak must be available for purchase everywhere".

As the market gets bigger, the distribution channels become more diverse. What is Camelbak's strategy to penetrate the Chinese market?
China is a huge market, and our range is so broad that we have chosen different distribution models. We focus on outdoor, bike and fitness. All these segments are covered by our distributor Sea To Summit and its local partners. With each passing day, the Chinese better understand the importance of enjoying sports. We want to make sure that they can buy our products everywhere - regardless of the sport they prefer.

That means you also want to specialize in new sports in your portfolio?
Our roots are in the biking and outdoor categories, but we have also transferred our know-how to other segments - running, for example. I think biking and outdoor were niche sports for a long time that didn't have much to do with the team sports or running that are traditional in China. About eight years ago, hiking was something out of the ordinary in China. Hiking was something for a minority. Today, things are different: China's community of active athletes is growing rapidly. The rapid growth in the trail running category is proof of that.

Volle Kraft voraus: Ian Steinmo, Vertriebsleiter von Camelbak für die Region Asia-Pacific.
Volle Kraft voraus: Ian Steinmo, Vertriebsleiter von Camelbak für die Region Asia-Pacific.
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Sponsoring events in China

How would you like to promote cycling and outdoor in China?
We have developed into a global running brand. This has also helped us in China. For example, we sponsor the two-time winner of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, Xavier Thevenard. In China itself, we sponsor WuYueZhai: a fantastic 50-kilometer trail in He Bei province.

What are your expectations for the second edition of ISPO SHANGHAI? How would you describe the differences to ISPO BEIJING in winter?
ISPO BEIJING is the place where we meet with our friends from the outdoor industry and our trade partners. We hope Shanghai will develop similarly for the same and other sports segments.

Markus Huber Author: Markus Huber