Anytime Fitness, Woodbury, Minnesota, is the first U.S. fitness franchise to be granted a license in China, according to a media release from the company. One of its master franchisees also will launch a program to develop trainers in China.
China has granted licenses to retail and restaurant franchises previously, but this is the first time it has done so for a fitness franchisor, according to Anytime.
The company already has seven locations open and operating in China plus 20 agreements signed. By 2020, Anytime Fitness anticipates 300-500 gyms in China, which will help it reach its goal of having more than 400 clubs open in Asia by 2020.
“With more than 3,500 gyms serving nearly three million members on five continents, we are confident our business model paired with the China capacity, will prosper thousands of gyms. We’re in the business of building communities and helping people achieve their goals, something that transcends across borders,” said Dave Mortensen, president and co-founder of Anytime Fitness. “The knowledge and experience of our master franchisee will greatly facilitate the success of the Anytime Fitness brand as we navigate the local business environment.”
Mortensen will join master franchisee Maurice Levine in Shanghai June 27-28 to support launch and strategically align efforts with suppliers and local supporters of the expansion.
Levine, who also owns the rights for Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, opened his first Anytime Fitness gym in Singapore in October 2013 and began franchising in February 2014. In less than three years, he has grown the franchise across six countries and over 150 territories. Under his helm, Anytime Fitness has become the number one gym operator by number of outlets in Asia.
More than 99 percent of Chinese do not have a gym membership, according to Anytime Fitness. To successfully tap into this opportunity for growth, Levine plans to deploy a strategy designed to build a culture of fitness, which will include creating the first Wellness University in Shanghai for career development and certification of personal trainers.
“Our goal is to bring fitness to the Asian community and support people on their journey to get to a healthier place,” Levine said. “While the atmosphere and amenities are upscale, the gym is inviting, unintimidating and priced right. It brings a much-needed service to the community. It’s accessible, affordable, provides supportive coaching and is a great place for community members to get to know each other while achieving their fitness goals.”