China’s appetite for sneakers is growing at an astounding rate. According to industry analysts, it’s the next big frontier for the sneaker business. In that spirit, GOAT Group, an online sneaker marketplace, is officially launching in China.
The growth of sneaker culture in China is directly associated with the rise of basketball’s popularity within the country, and GOAT group knows this.
“The sneaker community has grown tremendously in China, especially with the rise of basketball and hip hop culture. So it’s no surprise the demand for sneakers has grown as well,” said Eddy Lu, co-founder and CEO of GOAT Group.
As part of the launch, GOAT is kicking things off with a three-day event in Shanghai, where shoppers can use a localized version of the GOAT app via the WeChat Mini Program, so that it is compatible with China’s ubiquitous WeChat shopping ecosystem.
A GOAT team based in Shanghai is leading the expansion efforts in China as well as in the greater Asia Pacific region. The city has a strong sneaker game going — and recently hosted the “greatest sneaker show on Earth:" Sneaker Con.
“We know China is a unique market and if we use the same strategy as the U.S., we’ll likely fail,” said Lu. “We are building this product with a local team in order to provide the Chinese consumer with a better, more personalized experience.”
Many of the styles that are popular among U.S. sneakerheads are also popular in Japan, including Nike (NKE) and the Air Jordan brand. However, Chinese sneaker consumers lean more toward "hype shoes" such as Kanye West's Yeezys line by Adidas (ADDYY).
According to GOAT, luxury spending in China will soon surpass that of the U.S., which bodes well for GOAT as it looks to tap into new markets.The sneaker resale business as a whole is estimated to be worth $6 billion by the year 2025.
China is the second-largest sneaker market in the world, driven, in part, by the over 400 million millennials there.
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.