From marathons to bodybuilding, athletes across China are sweating their way into extreme fitness. As Tara Joseph reports, the fitness industry is now worth billions of dollars annually in a nation previously know for sports like table tennis and badminton.
A fitness phenomenon being hauled into Asia. Across China athletes are pumping and sweating their way to mega fitness... spurred by rising incomes and the globalisation of hard core-fitness. SOUNDBITE (English) TARA JOSEPH, REUTERS, SAYING: "I'm at the Pure Fitness gym in Hong Kong where athletes train in all types of training from kickboxing . Facilities like this are opening daily across China - market researchers say the fitness industry is set to generate nearly 6-billion dollars in in China alone this year - that's 12 percent higher than 2015." One of the most famous faces of this global trend - legendary muscle man Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's been hosting a bodybuilding and fitness expo in Hong Kong. and sees asia as a bulging opportunity: SOUNDBITE (English) ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, SAYING: "When you talk about the world - to have it all over the world - you naturally talk about all six continents, right? And, uh, Asia was one of the most important ones. Actually, it was the most difficult one to find the right spot, because there were a lot of countries bidding and offering a lot of money. I mean, we're talking about 4.4 billion people in Asia. So, if you really want to promote health and fitness you would waste your time if you didn't include Asia." Fitness in Asia used to be associated with sports like table tennis and martial arts... but people are now getting inspired by what's happening overseas... Western sportswear is flying off the shelves ... and popular apps like "gotokeep" have millions of users hooked on bodybuilding. Even the Chinese government has a "fitness plan"... counting on sport to help drive the national economy Just last year China's richest man Wang Jianlin bought the organiser of Ironman Triathlon races for 650 million dollars... laying the tracks for more sweat and glory in the world's most populous country.