The 7 Most Popular Sports in China and How Long They Have Been Played

Sports have an intriguing past in China. Numerous sports have their origins in this illustrious nation. Certain things are worth more than others. Similarly, a few are hugely well-liked by Chinese citizens.

Given the amount of affection these sports receive, there isn’t much discussion over which seven are the most popular in China. We will now be able to explain to you why they are so well-liked as well as the exact moment that their fame started and blossomed.

1. Martial Arts

Martial arts, such as karate, are still quite popular in China.

In China, martial arts and karate are very popular. Interestingly, they also have a fantastic past. The Xia Dynasty, about 4,000 years ago, is when it is said to have begun. It seems that the desire for self-defense led to the development of martial arts. It is not surprising that learning self-defense is the main reason individuals enroll in karate and martial arts lessons. Even now, the East Asian Karate Championship is a major occasion that attracts a lot of Chinese viewers. In general, karate continues to be among the most traditional and well-liked sports in China.

2. Running

More people than ever before are taking part in running events in China.

Approximately 7 million Chinese individuals competed in running events in 2019, according to Statista. It provides excellent cardio, making it a terrific method to keep in shape. You could even do it with companions. As a result, running ranks among the most popular sports in China as it’s an activity that keeps getting more and more popular.

3. Esports

It is reported that 665 million individuals took part in esports competitions in China.

Running is similar to esports in terms of workout and cerebral stimulation. Still, it enjoys enormous popularity in China. China has the highest-earning esports players worldwide, according to Play Today. It is well-liked in many other nations, including the United States. However, China leads this area and its popularity keeps growing.

4. Badminton

Over the years, the Chinese badminton national team has won numerous titles.

One sport that many would rather play than watch is badminton. It’s just an enjoyable sport to play. To make sure you get the birdie, you are shuffle walking all the time. Yes, the thing you hit is referred to as the birdie at times. Some refer to it as the shuttle. In the 1950s, badminton made its way to China. Since then, it has gained popularity and maintained its position as one of the greatest in the nation.

5. Table Tennis

Every year, the World Table Tennis Tournament is held in China with a $800,000 prize fund.

Playing table tennis is enjoyable. It can be played outside or indoors. The United Kingdom is where table tennis originated. However, it arrived in China circa 1910. Ever since, the sport has expanded. Every year, the World Table Tennis Tournament is held in China. The most memorable moment of the 2020 Olympics occurred when 350 million Chinese spectators watched table tennis during the summer competition. Naturally, the back-and-forth action makes this game enjoyable for players.

6. Soccer/football

Football is still one of the most popular sports in China, despite the nation having only ever sent one representative to the World Cup.

The Chinese national team rarely qualifies for the World Cup. In spite of this, football, or soccer as it is known in America, continues to be an incredibly popular sport. According to Statista, 200 million Chinese citizens watch football. Playing the sport is enjoyable for a lot of people. Strangely, a lot of people think that football originated in China in the Han Dynasty. It was quite similar to a sport called Cuju. Football has therefore continued to be popular over time.

7. Basketball

Yao Ming popularized basketball in China to the point where the NBA now frequently holds games there.

In China, Western sports are typically prohibited. But with time, things have evolved. Basketball’s popularity has now skyrocketed. Two Chinese superstars played in the NBA. Yao Ming was the first. Before breaking his foot in the 2009 NBA playoffs, he helped the Houston Rockets advance to the second round of the competition. Ming finished with career highs of 9.2 rebounds per game and 19 points.

Meanwhile, during the “Linsanity” run in 2012, Lin made his breakthrough with the New York Knicks. Throughout his NBA career, he was a player for eight different teams, scoring 11.6 points per contest.

According to Reuters, NBA viewership in China increased by 80% in 2022 compared to the previous season. Additionally, the Chinese populace watches some of their favorite teams on streaming websites. In China, basketball is the most popular sport by far.