Chinese Elderly Footwear Brand ZULIJIAN Expands Globally and Debuts in Singapore

Consumer Staples Author: Yiru Qian Oct 10, 2023 03:04 PM (GMT+8)

Its Singapore store, "ZULIZ," achieved record-breaking sales on its opening day and hinted at an ambitious global expansion strategy.


Chinese elderly footwear brand, ZULIJIAN (Chinese: 足力健), has unveiled its maiden international store, "ZULIZ," in the vibrant city-state of Singapore. The recent debut has been met with resounding success, as the store notched up an impressive 101 pairs of shoes sold and raked in nearly CNY 50,000 in revenue on its inaugural day, boasting an astounding store efficiency rate of CNY 1319 per square foot. These achievements come after a highly successful soft launch period, where the store's cumulative sales surpassed the CNY 100,000 mark.

This strategic leap into the international market underscores the brand's determination to broaden its horizons and showcase its mettle on a global stage. It also sheds light on the prevailing trend among Chinese brands to establish their first international presence in Southeast Asia, including but not limited to a series of Chinese tea brands like HeyTea and MXBC.

This can be attributed to the region's substantial Chinese expatriate population, fostering a sense of familiarity with these brands. Moreover, Southeast Asia stands as a coveted destination for a multitude of Chinese tourists, providing an opportune setting for brands to cultivate an international, robust brand image among local patrons.

Within the Chinese domestic market, ZULIJIAN continues to reign supreme in the elderly footwear segment. According to market intelligence from Euromonitor International, ZULIJIAN's elderly footwear has maintained the top position in terms of sales volume for three consecutive years, spanning from 2020 to 2022. As of October 2023, ZULIJIAN boasts a staggering network of approximately 3,000 brick-and-mortar stores.

Concurrently, a wave of fresh entrants specializing in elderly footwear has surfaced, with traditional footwear giants also venturing into this niche arena, accelerating a transformative shift in the elderly footwear market landscape.

Surveys conducted by AgeClub, an industry-focused platform for the elderly sector, revealed intriguing market dynamics. In the span of one year, ZULIJIAN's market share saw a decline from 36.22% to 13.12%. In contrast, brands like AOKANG (Chinese: 奥康) and WARRIOR (Chinese: 回力) witnessed a surge in market share, registering 3.62% and 2.97%, respectively.

In a visionary move, ZULIJIAN unveiled plans in 2018 to invest a staggering CNY 6 billion  in the construction of an expansive industrial park located inHenan Province. This grand project, spanning approximately 3,000 acres, is envisioned to transform into a unique town, harmoniously blending elements of a "footwear industry industrial tourism park," "personalized elderly thermal spring leisure resort," and a "Chinese traditional culture research and forum conference center."

The expansion from elderly footwear to a multifaceted industrial park signifies ZULIJIAN's resolute commitment to stepping into the broader senior and cultural tourism industries. However, this ambitious trajectory has cast a considerable shadow on ZULIJIAN's financial stability, characterized by reports of wage and debt arrears, as well as an array of legal disputes. Consequently, this overseas foray could potentially serve as a fresh avenue for ZULIJIAN to fortify its performance metrics.

Notably, despite its primary focus on the elderly footwear niche, ZULIJIAN has successfully garnered a following among younger consumers, owing to its reputation for comfort and affordability. ZULIJIAN representatives have affirmed their unwavering commitment to their elderly footwear product line. Nevertheless, the company is proactively extending its presence on platforms that attract younger demographics, such as TikTok and Xiaohongshu.