"Dedicate yourself and you will win," says young entrepreneur
Zhuang Zihao or Howard Chung, a young man from Macao runs a popular fitness club in Beijing's Sanlitun district.[Photo:China Plus]
Many entrepreneurs are seeking opportunities in China's rapidly-growing health and fitness sector.
Zhuang Zihao or Howard Chung, a young man from Macao who runs a popular fitness club in Beijing's Sanlitun district is one of them.
"Hi, my name is Howard, Howard Chung. I was born in Macao and I was raised in L.A.. I've been in L.A. for almost 13 years and just recently three years ago I came here to open this place with my best friends."
After working at an investment bank for years, Chung decided to do something he's really passionate about.
He's a huge fan of various sports, and has worked out at gyms regularly for many years.
The fitness enthusiast made up his mind to start his own business.
"For me, life is more than just work. I want to find something I really want to do. When I returned to Macao from LA, I contacted with one of my best friends in high school who shared the same thoughts with me. And we decided to begin our business together. "
With fitness clubs and studios popping up on the Chinese mainland, Chung eyed the booming market and decided to find opportunities for his business here in Beijing, with which he has a special connection.
"My mom was born in Beijing. And I don't know why I just have a special feeling for the city. I have worked at many places including Shanghai and some other cities in the United States. Maybe something is in my blood. I believe this place is perfectly suitable for me. And I like people here who are straightforward and are easy to get along with."
Located in the most prosperous business district, the fitness club named Superlife boasts not only a training hall but also a famous basketball court and an outdoor swimming pool which is highly recommended by partygoers.
Chung says the leisure facility offers a superb recreational space for people to relax after work.
"Regular engagement with sport will help you feel better. Fitness training helps improve efficiency at work. When I worked at the bank, no matter how tired I was, I would still went to work out which was refreshing."
The fitness club has become a popular spot on social media for photography and even attracted many celebrities and renowned athletes.
But Chung says he had to endure some tough times before finally turning a profit.
"I was under huge financial pressure for the first two years. And it's hard to attract customers and win their trust. What's more, we have been faced with fierce competition here. You can see there are so many workout clubs and gyms of various brands in the neighborhood. To be honest we cannot afford a price war. Cuz we have to stick to our standard and to secure the premium service. With strategic adjustment earlier this year, we managed to pull through and the club also started to turn out profits. Everything turned better and better."
He says he always tries to keep a positive mentality and an open mind, and that helped when the business seemed difficult.
"I gradually learned from doing my own business. As a leader of my team, I have so much things on my shoulder. And I have to be determined and motivate them to achieve our goal. That's challenging."
Despite those challenges, Chung says he never worried about the future, adding that he firmly believes more opportunities will come.
"As the country becomes wealthier, people will have more time and money to spend on sport. I believe in the next ten years, there will be tremendous opportunities in the fitness sector. It depends on how we manage our businesses. It takes time for people to adopt a new life style. So I'm not worried about it. Over the past four years, those with low competitiveness were knocked out and those who fit the market survived. "
The fitness sector on the Chinese mainland is expected to be a 200 billion dollar market by 2020 with 400 million people exercising regularly.
Chung says it's very lucky for him to be here at the start of such a good time for the health and fitness sector, and he hopes his business will expand in the years to come.