China's International City | Fitness Equipment Production Base: Ningjin County

Consumer Staples Author: Violet Chen Sep 25, 2023 03:15 PM (GMT+8)

China boasts to have many marvelous cities that keep low profiles among the public while holding pivotal shares in related industries and markets. These cities, along with surrounding towns and villages, form clusters centered around a certain industry. Through close collaboration, they have developed into significant forces at home and abroad.


In terms of going global, the efficiency of supply chains is always regarded as the core competitiveness of Chinese brands. Meanwhile, the smooth operation of supply chains behind the big picture lies in the backup of these cities. The series "China's international city" will uncover the veil of the grand narrative of globalization and focus on the capillary-like cities of the manufacturing powerhouse, vividly showcasing the difficulties and changes in China's supply chain. This issue will focus on Ningjin County, Dezhou City, Shandong Province.

Speaking of Dezhou, "Dezhou grilled chicken" is the first thing that pops into your mind. However, Dezhou has long been known for its fitness equipment industry. In 2016, Ningjin County, Dezhou City, Shandong Province was awarded the title of "China Fitness Equipment Production Base", the overall scale of the fitness equipment industry reached CNY 30 billion that year.

At present, there are over 2000 fitness equipment factories in Ningjin, including 28 enterprises above designated size, 5 high-tech enterprises, and over 30000 employees. In 2022, the total output value of the local fitness equipment industry was approximately CNY 8.76 billion with a 6.2% growth rate. The sales of commercial fitness equipment produced in Ningjin account for over 70% of the domestic market share, involving over a dozen series and 300+ varieties, making Ninjing the largest commercial fitness equipment production base in China.

The fitness equipment in Ningjin not only sells in China, more than 50% of the products are exported to the international market, covering more than 1000 varieties of commercial, household, medical, and health care. They are sold to more than 170 countries and regions around the world, such as the United States, France, India, Russia, Italy, and Southeast Asia, accounting for more than 60% of the export market.

From Hardware and Machinery Industry City to Commercial Fitness Equipment Base

The hardware and machinery industry in Ningjin emerged in the 1960s to 1970s, with a total industrial output value of CNY 25.7 billion in 2012. Ninjing is known as the "China Hardware and Machinery Industry City". Ningjin has a strong industrial foundation, covering 33 industrial categories and has unique advantages in developing the fitness equipment industry.

The fitness equipment industry in Ningjin started in 2001. It is derived from the hardware and machinery industry. Based on its complete hardware machinery industry chain, Ningjin promoted the integration of upstream and downstream resources and industrial integration, ans has gathered related enterprises such as hardware machinery processing and mold manufacturing to produce fitness equipment, to form a complete industry chain from research and development design, production manufacturing to marketing, and after-sales service.

In 2021, 7 more fitness equipment enterprises above designated size were newly added in Ningjin. The fitness equipment manufacturing industry achieved a revenue of CNY 1.64 billion, with a year-on-year growth of 31.81%. After the leading enterprises, such as MBH (迈宝赫) and ImageFit (宝德龙), investing in the construction of intelligent factories and digital workshops, other local fitness equipment enterprises also have gradually begun to transform towards digitization and intelligence, promoting the upgrading of the fitness equipment industry in Ningjin.

Among them, MBH started to develop the overseas fitness equipment market. MBH has established branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, including teams in foreign trade, R&D, sales, and branding, vigorously developing overseas markets. In addition, MBH has collaborated with foreign subsidiaries and overseas distributors to complete the O2O layout and create an omnichannel retail model, allowing consumers to better understand the product.

In 2017, MBH officially entered the North American fitness equipment market, partnering with a well-known fitness equipment brand in the United States and created the Mavinpro high-end brand series. This series appeared at FIBO in Asia, the world's largest fitness show. At present, MBH products have been sold to more than 100 countries in the Americas, Europe, and Southeast Asia, competing with numerous international brands at the same level and establishing a reputation in the international market.

From Manufacturing to Intelligent Manufacturing

The fitness equipment industry in Ningjin is mainly composed of small enterprises and workshops. Many factories have non-standard production and operation, and scattered factories, resulting in inconsistent product quality and difficult for government regulation. In order to accelerate industrial development and pursue new breakthroughs, Ningjin focuses on the development of fitness equipment industry clusters. It concentrates on commercial fitness equipment, and is advancing into fields such as medical rehabilitation, competitive sports, household lightweight, and intelligence, integrating with industries such as health, elderly care, and tourism. At present, the Ningjin Fitness Equipment Industry Group has 1014 sports industry enterprises, continuously expanding in product application scenarios.

In 2020, Ningjin signed a cooperation agreement with Tencent to build the Tencent Cloud (Dezhou) Industrial Cloud Base based on Tencent's experience and technology in the industrial Internet. The cloud base integrates R&D, design, production, manufacturing, and management to provide optimization solutions for enterprises, and assists traditional industries in digital transformation. Among them, the cloud platform developed by MBH and Tencent has gathered raw material distribution in upstream, technology in midstream, as well as fitness clubs and users in downstream, forming a complete industrial chain to help enterprises achieve cost reduction and efficiency improvement, and further achieve 'intelligent manufacturing'.

In 2022, Ningjin and Humi have signed a project for the informatization and intelligent transformation of fitness equipment enterprises, creating a Ningjin fitness equipment digital economy industrial base, driving the digital connection of the fitness equipment industry, and building a national fitness equipment industry big data platform. MBH and Humi have also achieved strategic cooperation to promote the digital scene and industrial design innovation and application of "logo+application" in the fitness equipment industry, forming the core competitiveness of digital economy construction and assisting enterprises in digital transformation.

Nest, Ningjin will accelerate the digital transformation and upgrading of the fitness equipment industry, improve existing cloud bases and internet platforms, build the top node platform for national fitness equipment manufacturing industry internet identification analysis, industrial design industry innovation platform, and national fitness equipment industry big data platform, to create a "global intelligent fitness equipment industry base".

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