The Negotiation

In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with Kevin Hui, a serial entrepreneur and marketer who has worked across the sports, film, education, and capital markets industries, and is now the President of Can Life Sports, a company that has spent a decade developing and growing ice hockey in China. We talk about the physical infrastructure needs, aka more ice rinks, necessary for the game tp grow in China, how Can Life works to let Chinese youth experience the hockey culture, why the growth of the game has focused on China recently, and how well China’s hockey team will do in its first-ever Olympic tournament next year in Beijing. Enjoy!

Show Notes

Topics Discussed and Key Points:
●      The rise in ice hockey’s popularity in China over the past decade
●      Does the lack of infrastructure growth for hockey in China limit how much interest the sport receives?
●      How Can Life lets the Chinese youth experience the “hockey culture” that Canadians are so familiar with
●      Why has the development of hockey been emphasized in China lately?
●      How is China developing players to be potentially drafted into the NHL?
●      What is the extent of the NHL’s involvement in the growth of hockey in China?
●      Which famous hockey players have the most sought-after jerseys in China?
Episode Summary:
Today on The Negotiation, we speak with Kevin Hui, a serial entrepreneur and marketer who has worked across the sports, film, education, and capital markets industries with a focus on early-stage businesses.
Kevin is the current President of Beijing-based Can Life Sports, the leading company in developing and growing ice hockey in China launched in 2011. He is also the Co-Founder of Northern Lights Media, which provides production and post-production services as well as Chinese localization of foreign content.
Kevin attributes the rise of hockey’s popularity in China to the growth of the ex-pat community in the country over the last decade. However, the 2022 Winter Olympics is what has truly skyrocketed interest in the sport. Also, in 2015, the same year the announcement was made that Beijing would host the Winter Olympics, Andong "Misha" Song became the first Chinese-born hockey player to be drafted into the NHL.
Since the spike in interest in hockey in 2015, interest has slowly receded. “Hopefully what we’re doing here [at Can Life] and what the Olympics is going to do for the industry will allow it to steadily grow,” says Kevin.
The lack of infrastructure growth in China is a huge barrier to entry for those looking to get into ice hockey. In spite of this, Kevin believes that the key to growing the sport in China is by exposing the youth to the same “hockey culture” that he and many other Canadians are so familiar with. The key to this, he says, is the fun factor. “When you get to experience fun, that’s just something that you don’t forget.”
Key Quotes:
“At Can Life, we promote the competition but we focus more on the fun, the friendship, and the hockey culture that we grew up experiencing in Canada.”
“[Growing hockey in China] is about spending five to ten years working together, failing, succeeding, failing again, and creating their own system that’s adapted to the international way of operating but creating it for the local market.”

What is The Negotiation?

Despite being the world’s most potent economic area, Asia can be one of the most challenging regions to navigate and manage well for foreign brands. However, plenty of positive stories exist and more are emerging every day as brands start to see success in engaging and deploying appropriate market growth strategies – with the help of specialists.

The Negotiation is an interview show that showcases those hard-to-find success stories and chats with the incredible leaders behind them, teasing out the nuances and digging into the details that can make market growth in APAC a winning proposition.