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Big data discloses China's sports preferences

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-01-07 00:17
BEIJING - More Chinese people online searched for popular and grassroots sports in 2016, according to big data analysis released Thursday.
In a statistical analysis, China's leading searching engine Baidu showed the popular sports of running, swimming, ping-pong, badminton, and cycling were more common in searches for 2016.

Online search volume of the sports increased by 27 percent compared with 2015.

Chinese netizens last year searched for information about sports 1.6 billion times, Baidu said

"This means the daily retrieving volume went up by 4.4 million hits," said Zhang Wan, a Baidu executive.

"The statistic shows China is witnessing sports heat now," Zhang said. Basketball was Chinese netizen's most popular search among competitive sports, accounting for half of sports searches, followed by football with 40 percent.

The Chinese Football Association Super League received 1.4 times more searches than the English Premier League (EPL), which is the most popular European football league in China.

It is noticeable that EPL fans in China paid more attention to club performances, while fans of Spain's La Liga were more interested in world-class footballers such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The data shows that Messi has three times more fans than Ronaldo in China.

"The data could help sports brands precisely find their niche markets and target-consumers by analyzing fans' behavior and preferences," Zhang said. "We discovered that supporters of Ronaldo prefer the brands of Audi and IWC watches, while Messi fans like Mercedes-Benz and Tag Heuer."

Zhang pointed out that the Chinese sports market was pushing brands to develop deeper interaction with consumers.

The data also found that sports fans also like information about fitness, entertainment, online games, education, automobiles, and fashion.
"We can see that extending the sports market could benefit many other potential industries," Zhang said.

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