Yoga in Shanghai – Opportunity & Challenge

Yoga has been gaining great popularity in China in the recent few years, especially in modern city like Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. People follow the yoga as a new fashion and lifestyle. I would like to analyse some simple points on opportunities and challenges for setting up yoga business in Shanghai, from my personal point of views.
1. The Standard of life has been raised up greatly, and people has more extra money to spend on sports and entertainment.
The gross domestic product (GDP) which measures of national income and output for a given country’s economy was worth 11199.15 billion US dollars in 2016. And Shanghai is on the top of the list. An associate/manager level profession in the banking industry can earn 20k RMB (3025 USD) per month on average. So with the increasing consuming power, local or expats in the city move more portion of the salary from food and clothes to sports and entertainment. The cost of a normal yoga class is from 20-30 USD, which is more expensive than in Singapore or even in some cities of USA.
2. People bear lots of pressure physically and mentally due to fast pace of life. As a good exercise and relaxation channel, yoga has attracted lots of attention. Also, Shanghai is a great market with its big population and immigrants living there.
The “China Yoga Industry Development Report” published in June 2017, by a group of scholars including the official Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), found there were at least 10,800 yoga schools across China, with some educating thousands of yoga practitioners.
Also, there is a hug need for yoga as people become more health conscious. People realize that the modern life has caused lots of potential health problems. Even young people nowadays suffer from body pains and cancer due to the overwork and lack of exercise. Yoga, on the other side, draws a perfect balance between the body and mental balance.
3. People are more easily to accept yoga as it shares similar philosophy with Tai Chi.
Tai Chi has been exists in Chinese culture for thousand years. And most of people either heard or learnt the Tai Chi philosophy during the school years. With the perceived similarities between the two traditions, Chinese people in generally find yoga very close to our own culture and tradition.
Although a big market as in Shanghai, the yoga business has been very competitive and not easy to enter the market as a new brand.
Obviously, businessman has realized the potential of the Shanghai market a few years ago. With the first-mover advantage, those established brand occupying better market resources and students loyalty.
One of the example is Yogi Yoga, which opened in 2003, it promised to “bring pure yoga from India.” This arrived in the form of Yogi Mohan, a teacher from Rishikesh. It has run the business successfully and operated in more than 17 provinces in China. It covers different training classes, yoga therapy and teacher training courses all around the year.
If a new brand starts in Shanghai, it will gain much pressure from the competitiveness at the beginning. But I think there is still good chance to be successful. First a good location, as Shanghai is a big city, and people prefer to choose a studio near home or office, so a studio meets the travelling advantage has the chance. Second, a studio with its own feature, either skilled teachers, well designed and interesting course, or specific target students, can be a good selling point for the new business.
As illustrated above, these are some personal points on the business opportunities and challenges for yoga industry in Shanghai. Overall, I think it is a booming and exciting business market in Shanghai.


-Kate Zhou Jiarong, 200hr teacher training course , Sep 2017 (Weekend classes)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *