Global Marketing

Planet Fitness in China

Planet Fitness is an American company that primarily operates in 3 segments: corporate-owned stores, equipment, and franchise. It was founded in 1992 by Michael and Marc Grondahl and their headquarters are in Hampton, New Hampshire with their current CEO being Chris Rondeau. Planet Fitness aims to provide a diverse and inclusive high-quality gym environment which they prefer to call a “judgment-free zone” at an affordable cost. They also pride themselves on being a safe and supportive space by hosting Pizza Mondays and Bagel Tuesdays once a month to foster a sense of community. Their target market is first-time or occasional gym-goers. Today, Planet Fitness has more than 2,039 locations around the world. Most of their fitness centers are located in the United States, but their franchises have also expanded into Australia, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, and Puerto Rico. However, their corporate-owned stores are predominantly located throughout the United States and Canada. As for the equipment segment, Planet Fitness sells equipment to franchisee-owned stores. Hypothetically Planet Fitness is looking to expand in China.

China has the second-highest GDP in the world. In 2021 China has a GDP of $16642.62 billion and is forecasted to reach $24127.83 billion in 2026. As Planet Fitness is looking to enter China, the company must beware and do its due diligence in assessing the Chinese culture.  China is an urban homogenous culture that is well-positioned to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.  There is a large gap between the rich and the poor in China as well as Planet Fitness will likely try to market its brand to the middle and lower class.  It is also important to note that China is a communist country and sometimes legal systems are enforced by those with the most power as many believe that justice is a political decision.  Due primarily to communism, Chinese citizens have a low indulgence as they have the perception that their actions may sometimes be restrained by social norms and may feel that indulging themselves is somewhat wrong.

It will be important for Planet Fitness to build trust and create long-term relationships with the Chinese government.  This relationship can be known as “Guanxi” which means networking relationships and is a necessity to conduct business in China.  Planet Fitness as well as any other company needs a separate strategy, a separate set of plans when conducting business in China instead of other countries around the world. Planet Fitness will also have to increase the size of the gym as China has the highest population in the world. Planet Fitness will also have to change their few types of equipment in the gym. They can add a meditation room which would attract a lot of Chinese customers. While selling the gym pieces of equipment in China Planet Fitness needs to make sure that there are no other brands that are making replicas of their brand. Keeping the differences in market environments Planet Fitness has a huge potential in China.

One reply on “Planet Fitness in China”

Very insightful blog post. Planet Fitness has a very “arms wide open” approach for those who are weary on entering a gym. I’ll definitely be following their expansion efforts in China!

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