An Investigation of Key Market Growth Factors that Influence the “Luxurisation†of Golf Industry in China


  • Congshan Zhang Central University of Finance and Economics
  • Maktoba Omar Edinburgh Napier University, United Kingdom

  • Nathalia C. Tjandra Edinburgh Napier University, United Kingdom



Golf industry China Luxury product Market growth factors


This study aims to investigate the key market growth factors for golf development in China as a luxury product. After nearly 30 years of development, China now has the largest golf complex in the world and in recent years the market is growing at its fastest pace. Due to rapid economic growth and the emergence of a large number of wealthy people, it has been argued that the consumption of luxury will increase. However, little research has been carried out to answer the question why a foreign game could develop so robustly, and the key factors that have contributed to its growth in relation to its unique features. Both questionnaire and in-depth interviews were adopted in the study. Valid questionnaire responses were collected from 213 golf managers in China. The results were supported by evidence from interviews with 5 experienced golf course managers who have worked in several golf courses around China. It is found that that the economic and cultural factors are the key market growth factors for the development of golf as a luxury product in China. The findings also discuss how political, economic, cultural, technological, geographic and environmental factors are influencing current and future golf development.This paper will help practitioners to understand their external business environment and implement innovative strategies.


Achabou, M. A., & Dekhili, S. (2013). Luxury and sustainable development: Is there a match? Journal of Business Research, 66(10), 1896–1903.

Awang, K. W., & Aziz, Y. A. (2010). Tourism Policy Development: The Malaysian Experience. The Arab World Geographer, 53–62.

Catry, B. (2003). The great pretenders: the magic of luxury goods. Business Strategy Review, 14(3), 10–17. doi:10.1111/1467-8616.00267.

Ceron-Anaya, H. (2010). An Approach to the History of Golf: Business, Symbolic Capital, and Technologies of the Self. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 34(3), 339–358. doi:10.1177/0193723510377317.

Chen, B. (2004). Asset specialization, transaction cost and organization. Journal Of Harbin Institute Of Technology (Social Sciences Edition), 6(1), 5.

Costa, J. (2008). Scanning the business environment. In M. Olsen & J. Zhao (Eds.), Handbook of hospitality strategic management. Butterworth-Heinemann is an imprint of Elsevier.

Cui, Z., & Xiang, B. (2006). China Golf Resources Management. Business Management. Fudan University, Shanghai.

Davidson, J. (2009). Reflections of Scotland. Broxburn, Scotland: Lomond Books.

Davies, I. a., Lee, Z., & Ahonkhai, I. (2011). Do Consumers Care About Ethical-Luxury? Journal of Business Ethics, 106(1), 37–51. doi:10.1007/s10551-011-1071-y

Douglass, M. (2000). Mega-urban Regions and World City Formation: Globalisation, the Economic Crisis and Urban Policy Issues in Pacific Asia. Urban Studies, 37(12), 2315–2335. doi:10.1080/00420980020002823

Fotis, J., Buhalis, D., & Rossides, N. (2012). Social media use and impact during the holiday travel planning process. In Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism (pp. 13–24).

Gao, L., Norton, M., Zhang, Z., & To, C. (2009). Potential niche markets for luxury fashion goods in China. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 13(4), 514–526. doi:10.1108/13612020910991376.

Getz, D., Dowling, R., Carlsen, J., & Anderson, D. (1999). Critical success factors for wine tourism. International Journal of Wine Marketing, 11(3), 20.

Giroir, G. (2011). Hyper-Rich and Hyper-Luxury in China: The Case of the Most Expensive Gated Communities. Chinese Business Review, 10(6), 454–466.

Gittings, J. (2005). The Changing Face of China: From Mao to Market. Oxford, United Kingdom: OUP Oxford.

Godbey, G. (2003). Leisure in your life: an exploration. State College, PA: Venture Pub.

Hamilton, D. (1998). Golf: Scotland's Game (illustrate., p. 269). London: Partick Press.

He, C., Yuan, R., & Wang, Z. (2012). Study on Cross-cultural Marketing of Western Luxury Commodities in China. 2012 Second International Conference on Business Computing and Global Informatization, 410–413. doi:10.1109/BCGIN.2012.113

Heinemann, G. (2008). Motivations for Chinese and Indian Consumers to Buy Luxury Brands. Auckland University of Technology.

Huertas, M., Gomis, F. J. D. C., Lluch, D. B. L., & Torres, A. M. A. (2010). Analysis of the opinion about economic and social impacts of golf courses in a tourist destination. World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 6(1), 103–117. doi:10.1108/20425961201000009

Hurun Group. (2013). The Chinese millionaire wealth report 2012. shanghai.

Hyun, M. Y., Lee, S., & Hu, C. (2009). Mobile-mediated virtual experience in tourism: concept, typology and applications. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 15(2), 149–164.

Ju, B. (2012). An Evaluation of Critical Factors Influencing Product Innovation in the Food Industry- A Case Study of China Mengjiu Dairy Company. International Journal of Business and Management, 7(3), 104–110. doi:10.5539/ijbm.v7n3p104.

Kaynak, E., Wong, Y. H., & Leung, T. (2013). Guanxi: Relationship Marketing in a Chinese Context. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.

KPMG. (2008). The Value of Golf to Europe Middle East and Africa. A study on the golf Economy (p. 26). Hungary: KPMG golf advisroy practice in EMA.

KPMG. (2011). Luxury experiences in China - A KPMG study (p. 45). China.

KPMG Golf Advisory Practice. (2008). Golf Benchmark – The source of industry knowledge Golf Benchmark Survey in China 2008. Hungary.

Lang Research Inc. (2007). Golfing While on Trips of One or More Nights. Canada.

Liu, Z. (2008). The analyze of Chinese golf industry. The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Beijing, China.

Lu, P. X. (2011). Elite China: Luxury Consumer Behavior in China. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.

Middleton, V. T. C. T. C., & Clarke, J. R. R. (2012). Marketing in Travel and Tourism. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.

Monash University Business and Economics. (2007). Luxury brands in China (p. 31). Shanghai.

Moya, M. E. F. (2012). Purchase and Consumption of Luxury Goods. Universidad Carlos iii de Madrid.

Nagai, C. (2007). Culturally Based Spiritual Phenomena : Eastern and Western Theories and Practices. Psychoanalytic Social Work, (May 2013), 37–41. doi:10.1300/J032v14n01.

Neo, H. (2010). Unpacking the Postpolitics of Golf Course Provision in Singapore. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 34(3), 272–287. doi:10.1177/0193723510377313.

Office of the World Health Organization Representative in China. (2005). China: Health, Poverty and Economic Development. Beijing: World Health Organization.

Park, J. (2011). Golf Wear in Korea: From Symbol of Luxury to Trendy Expendable. Cross-Cultural Communication, 7(3), 189–197. doi:10.3968/j.ccc.1923670020110703.136.

Park, K., & Reisinger, Y. (2009). Cultural Differences in Shopping for Luxury Goods: Western, Asian, and Hispanic Tourists. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 26(8), 762–777. doi:10.1080/10548400903356152.

Parker, L. S. (2012). In sport and social justice, is genetic enhancement a game changer? Health Care Analysis : HCA : Journal of Health Philosophy and Policy, 20(4), 328–46. doi:10.1007/s10728-012-0226-z.

Reis, H., & Correia, A. (2013). Gender inequalities in golf: a consented exclusion? International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, 7(4), 324–339. doi:10.1108/IJCTHR-12-2011-0005.

Risso, W. A., & Carrera, E. J. S. (2012). Inequality and economic growth in China. Journal of Chinese Economic and Foreign Trade Studies, 5(2), 80–90.

Rubin, H. J., & Rubin, I. S. (2012). Qualitative Interviewing: The Art of Hearing Data. New York: SAGE Publications.

Shipman, A. (2004). Lauding the Leisure Class: Symbolic Content and Conspicuous Consumption. Review of Social Economy, 62(3), 277–289. doi:10.1080/0034676042000253909.

Shukla, P. (2011). Impact of interpersonal influences, brand origin and brand image on luxury purchase intentions: Measuring interfunctional interactions and a cross-national comparison. Journal of World Business, 46(2), 242–252. doi:10.1016/j.jwb.2010.11.002.

Sloman, J. (2007). Essentials of economics (4th ed.). Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall.

Tang, Y., & Lu, L. (2013). Research on Health Tourism in Huangshan City. Journal of Anhui Normal University (Natural Science), 3, 17.

Tong, Q. (2004). impact of modern sport movement on lifestyle and its tendency. Jilin University.

Truong, Y., Simmons, G., McColl, R., & Kitchen, P. (2008). Status and Conspicuousness – Are They Related? Strategic Marketing Implications for Luxury Brands. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 16(3), 189–203. doi:10.1080/09652540802117124.

Vamplew, W. (2010). Sharing Space: Inclusion, Exclusion, and Accommodation at the British Golf Club Before 1914. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 34(3), 359–375. doi:10.1177/0193723510377327.

Veblen, T. (2011). Theory of the Leisure Class. Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany: outlook Verlag.

Walley, K., & Li, C. (2014). The market for luxury brands in China: Insight based on a study of consumer's perceptions in Beijing. Journal of Brand Management, (July 2013), 1–15. doi:10.1057/bm.2013.29.

Wheeler, K., & Nauright, J. (2006). A Global Perspective on the Environmental Impact of Golf. Sport in Society, 9(3), 427–443. doi:10.1080/17430430600673449.

Wu, Y. (2004). The characteristic of golf development in China. China Sport Science and Technology, 40(3), 41.

Xie, M. (2011). Luxury consumption in China: Relationship between consumers' motivations, constraints, emotions and brand experience. University of London, London.

Xu, J. (2013). The Rise of Middle Class Luxury Consumption in China. Duke University.

Zhang, C. (2011). Specialisation and the development of Golf as an industry: a case. First Annual Conference of Economic Forum of Entrepreneurship & International Business. Egypt: ECO-ENA & ECO-Engineering Associate, Inc.

Zhao, J. (2006). Development of healthy product in China. University of international Business and Economics.

Zheng, Y. (2006). Study on the Development of Golf Facility in P. R. China. Management. Beijing Sports University, Beijing, China.

Zhou, Q. (2011). Luxury Market in China. Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.