America’s Wild West style, aesthetic makes a big splash in China

Global Business

It’s one of the largest trade shows of its kind in the world. The Denver International Western/English Apparel and Equipment Market offers a wide range of Western-related products to retailers who are looking to buy.

CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports.

“Anybody that wants to get into the Western industry, this is the best place to put it all together in one spot,” Jerry Beagley of Jerry Beagley Braiding Company said.

That goes for one group of five apparel and equipment buyers who came all the way from China for the event.

“I’m mainly interested in cowboy costumes and equipment,” Yin Shipin said.

Yin owns a horse harness shop in Beijing and is among the entrepreneurs who are exploring the cowboy culture.

“We are mainly looking at saddles and costumes, like the cowboy hats, cowboy gloves, cowboy boots, basically anything cowboy-related. We want to promote both the costumes and culture in China,” Zhu Lin said.

The cowboy craze, as expressed in Western movies and images, swept the U.S. years ago.

“People think of America, they think of the cowboy in other foreign countries,” said Beagley.

Now, Beagley said, barrel racing is catching on in China. He just sold Chinese buyer accessories for the sport. The head of California Hat Company said China is growing as a market for him. The emphasis, he adds, is on quality.

“There’s people in China that are making a lot of money now. They can afford this kind of lifestyle, so I think it’s good,” said Chin Choe of California Hat Company.

California Hats’ higher-end products are made in Colombia. All of the hats are made in a place where they’re increasingly being worn. They’re made in China.

The group hoped to wrangle a variety of equestrian products during its visit.

“West Coast-made saddles are highly recognized in China, because they’re very safe, and at the same time very comfortable,” said Yin.

Zhu Lin said her country’s affinity for the Western lifestyle is pretty simple to explain.

“Because we like riding horses in China. We even have a horse-riding club for women only, sort of like a cowgirl club,” said Zhu.

Not surprisingly, American businesses are more than ready to help outfit their Chinese friends, help them indulge their hobby.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of logistics. There’s a lot of nuances there that we haven’t been able to conquer yet. But we’re working on it,” said Ori Adler, American Hatmakers.

Whether it’s the younger generation or the more well-to-do, buyers said the cowboy culture is alive and well in China. They’re looking to America to help them saddle up.