Retailing, Franchising, and Consumerism Business Intelligence in China

Yao Ming To Launch Sports Clubs in China

24 Hour Fitness Worldwide has announced a partnership with NBA All-Star Yao Ming to open its first health club in mainland China.

"We've had success in Asia already and felt the time was right to move into mainland China with the growing interest in health and fitness," said Mark S. Mastrov, chairman of 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide. "And what better partner to do it with than Yao Ming? He is an exceptional athlete who has shown what can be achieved through hard work and a healthy lifestyle. We know he'll be a terrific global ambassador for promoting the importance of fitness."

The signature sports club, which will be called California Fitness – Yao Ming Sport Club, will open in August 2007. California Fitness, which currently operates 24 locations across Asia, is a wholly owned subsidiary of 24 Hour Fitness.

As part of the multi-year joint venture, Yao will be an equity partner and play an active role in the creation, development and operation of multiple clubs. Additionally, he will appear in advertising and make promotional appearances on behalf of the club.

"California Fitness/24 Hour Fitness is the best at what they do — helping people improve their lives through health and fitness, and that is why I've partnered with them," said Yao. "Especially in the larger cities in China, people's lifestyles are changing and it's having an impact on their health. In order to achieve my personal goals, I spend a lot of time getting stronger through exercise. I want to lead by example and encourage people to live better by incorporating fitness into their daily lives."

Located in The Place, on the west side of Beijing's Central Business District, the California Fitness – Yao Ming Sport Club will occupy nearly 40,000 sq. ft and will offer members a full service gym with numerous amenities including a 3-on-3 basketball court, two Group X studios, cycling studio, cardio machines, a complete range of free weights and comprehensive resistance equipment, Xpress Zone, a stretch area, and steam and sauna facilities.

The state-of-the-art facility will include environmentally-friendly features such as an air purification system to provide optimum conditions for working out for its members. Additionally, through a partnership with a company called Motorwave, the club will be outfitted with a "Powered by You" section that uses human energy to create electricity.

All cardio machines, excluding treadmills, will have technology that repurposes excess electricity produced by the machines to run fluorescent lighting in the club. Currently, most cardio machines only utilize 10% of the electricity created by machines in use, while 90% is dissipated in the form of heat. California Fitness says it was the first health club in the world to utilize this type of technology in one of its Hong Kong locations.

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