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Sporting Equals Latest Release Insight – Young Chinese Males and Young Chinese Females

Sporting Equals latest consumer insight identifies that the UK Chinese population does not form a cohesive integrated community, but is a complex mix of ethnic, class and professional differences.  On the one hand, it is perceived as a successful group in business, academic and hi-tech spheres, including many younger high-achievers, but it also characterised as having a sector traditionally confined to low-paid, low-skilled occupations in the niche catering market. Large pockets of Chinese communities are growing places like London, Nottingham, Liverpool and Manchester. 

For many Chinese females the decline in participation begins from age 12 and continues throughout adolescence. Many said that the increased competitiveness of school sport in higher years influenced them to drop out.

“Almost 2 years before I left school, I had no interest in sport or doing any activity. School did not meet my tastes or that of the friends around me. And that suited everyone as no-one bothered attempting to get me involved.”  Focus Group Respondent

In our discussions with Chinese females they indicated that within their culture many 'see sport as a 'boys' thing' and therefore inappropriate for young Chinese females to dedicate themselves too. Sport, and in particular team sports, was highlighted as a male-dominated field and they still feel culturally it would be difficult to mix. Chinese females indicated the importance placed on keeping fit and healthy or being good at sport but did not agree these messages are used enough to engage them to take part.

Many young British Chinese males experience difficulty in 'trying to please both cultures' – maintaining the traditional values and culture of their parents and grandparents, while integrating with the wider youth culture of their peers.  The young males surveyed expressed a wish for more youth groups where they could meet with other young Chinese people and provide the opportunities for sport providers to have access to them.

British Chinese role models are not very common but China has broken through in many sports and produced role models of 'national hero status'. These role models are highlighted by young Chinese males as being influential in encouraging to learn, watch and participate in sport. Targeted messaging highlighting the benefits of continued physical activity will resonate with this group as they already have an affinity to sport.

“Young Chinese people closely monitor role models and these role model have a lot of influence of their behaviour”, Focus Group Respondent

The research highlights that mainstream sports services do not reach out to Chinese populations and as a result their needs often remain unrecognised and unmet.  Chinese people find it difficult to build ties with local services, many feel socially excluded and their perceptions and needs remain unknown.

​For further information please contact our Head of Research, Shaheen Bi on 0121 shbi@sportingequals.org.uk