• A pedestrian walks by a Nike store.

A pedestrian walks by a Nike store. (Photo : Getty Images News)

Foreign sportswear brands like Nike, Adidas, New Balance and Under Armour are banking on their brand prestige to ward off domestic competitors like Anta as they dig deeper into the Chinese market.

Nike and Adidas are the top two sportswear brands by market share in China. Last November, Nike signed soccer superstar Cristino Ronaldo $1 billion talent fee to further boost its image.

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But while Nike recorded a growth of about 9.5 percent in China during the last quarter, Adidas boosted sales by 22 percent throughout 2016.

Mark Parker, CEO of Nike, said they have "just scratched the surface" of their growth potential in the Chinese market.

Nike brand president Trevor Edwards added that the "opportunity is massive" in China.

China is now perceived as the perfect market for sportswear companies with its 415 million millennials; a middle class getting hooked in health and fitness; sports investments by the government; and a growing appetite for athletic wear brands, especially the foreign ones.

While already China has the world's largest middle class, it's still growing. The country's millennial generation is more globally connected because of technology and has a strong consumer appetite, with a rising purchasing power.

China's aggregate income is also expected to grow by around $3 trillion in the next decade.

To address increasing rates of health problems such as obesity and diabetes, China urged its citizens to be more involved in physical activities.

Gym membership in has doubled since 2008, according to a report by Financial Times, using figures from China Business Research Academy. Furthermore, the number of marathons in China grew by six times over the past five years.

China also launched a national fitness plan through 2020 that will involve significant investment in sport and fitness facilities.

Due to increased involvement in sports and the Chinese consumers increasing preference to use activewear as everyday clothing, sales of sportswear went up by 11 percent in China, according to research firm Euromonitor.

With sportswear becoming more as a fashion trend in China, wealthy Chinese are choosing it over luxury labels.

According to Colin Currie, Adidas's managing director for Greater China, the Chinese want versatile footwear and apparel that can be used in both sports and social occasions.