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China's yearning for the West

By - Last modified: February 8, 2013 at 9:39 AM

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Gabriel Yang, a 24-year-old master's degree student at HU, is designing a mobile app called Sportsanity. Photo/Jim T. Ryan
Gabriel Yang, a 24-year-old master's degree student at HU, is designing a mobile app called Sportsanity. Photo/Jim T. Ryan

We're seeing more evidence of China's shifting society and economy. And its yearning for things Western.

China's emerging middle class and rising wages are significant to York Wallcoverings, which hired more people here in Central Pennsylvania to produce the wallpaper the Chinese love so much.

Hard to ignore The Hershey Co.'s more recent success selling chocolate there. The company had 20 percent growth in the market last year, one of its greatest international successes.

Jim T. Ryan

Could there be more on the horizon? Maybe.

But first, let me ask you: What sports team is the wealthiest in the world? Yankees?

Wrong.

If you said perennial soccer powerhouse Manchester United of the English Premier League, you'd be correct, according to Forbes. Total value of the "Red Devils": $3 billion.

What does that have to do with American business and China? Well, apparently the Chinese have a voracious appetite for Western sports.

And a Harrisburg University of Science and Technology student might have found a way to capitalize on that.

Gabriel Yang, a 24-year-old master's degree student at HU, is designing a mobile app called Sportsanity. Basically, it's a fan site for Chinese users so they can keep track of their favorite sports news, scores, gossip and trade rumors. Of particular interest: the Western soccer leagues, such as the EPL and Spain's La Liga, because soccer is a fast-growing sport in China, Yang said.

"There are not many players on this market," said Yang, a Shanghai native.

The sports markets outside the U.S. are starting to grow, especially in places like China. Asian-Pacific sports market revenues are projected to grow 3.9 percent between 2011 and 2015, the third fastest among all regions, according to this study by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

China represents 35 percent of the sports revenues in developing economies, including Brazil, Russia and India, according to the study. That was worth $2.9 billion in 2010.

The U.S.'s dynamic economic environment will help develop the products for that market in the future, Yang said. It's easier to start a business, especially in the technology fields, he said. There are fewer barriers and entrepreneurial spirit is far more widespread in the U.S.

"Fewer people in China think to start their own business," he said.

Jim T. Ryan covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, transportation and workforce issues. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jimr@centralpennbusiness.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, @JimTRyanCPBJ.

 

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jimr@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JimTRyanCPBJ.

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