[Hunting Cloud Network Shanghai] reported on December 12 (Text/Egg General)
"Our aim is that 2680 yuan must be used in playgolf for everyone to learn golf. In fact, this movement is very simple and very civilian, and it cannot be demonized by past thinking. "
Recently, after three years’ silence, Zhang Xuhao, the founder of Hungry, started a new entrepreneurial action. Unlike Hungry, a grounded takeaway project, this time he has to enter a high-end niche track-"Golf Driving Range and Teaching Training", and he has generously smashed 150 million yuan from the beginning.
For the latest entrepreneurial action, this time Zhang Xuhao is unusually high-profile. Since Hungry was acquired by Alibaba for $9.5 billion in April, 2018, he has stepped down as a legal person, shareholder and other senior management positions of Hungry, Baidu Takeaway related operating companies, ending the era of "Hungry in Zhang Xuhao" and gradually disappearing after wealth freedom.
This high-profile publicity makes people wonder, is it Zhang Xuhao who blew the horn for starting a new business, or is it just the invisible rich who pursue sports out of love?
It is understood that the main company of PLAYGOLF is Shanghai Geke Sports Science and Technology Development Co., Ltd., which operates a 60,000-square-meter golf course-Huangxing Golf Club, equipped with outdoor football field, outdoor tennis, indoor basketball, fighting sports and other sports venues.
According to the data, PLAYGOLF was located in the original Huangxing Park Golf Driving Range in Shanghai, which was once the largest venue in Asia, setting a Guinness record for 300 people swinging at the same time, but it was closed in 2019. According to the official introduction of PLAYGOLF, the renovation cost 150 million yuan and took more than 300 days. After the renovation, there are 240 automatic service positions and a 1,400-square-meter green practice area, which is called "the only long-stick real grass position and the largest green in Asia".
According to its official report, PLAYGOLF will be "the best golf driving range in Asia and even the whole world". To this end, it has also built many supporting measures, such as bars, steakhouses and all-day restaurants, in addition to a full set of customized entertainment services.
In the public comments, we can see that PLAYGOLF’s quick entry teaching of high ball and white ball covers swing technical guidance, physical ability evaluation, technical analysis and comparison, playing fees and golf training direction planning. The group purchase price is 392 yuan, and the public playing position can be used by one person for one hour. At the same time, the park also has a luxury private room with a group purchase price of 2560 yuan for private party packages.
According to the eye-catching survey, the legal representative of PLAYGOLF is Li Dongping, which was established in September 2020. However, in the enterprise change record, before May 31, 2021, the legal representative of the company was Zhang Xuhao. In the company’s equity penetration, Zhang Xuhao shares accounted for 99.41%, which is the actual controller of the company. This means that PLAYGOLF is actually a personal entrepreneurial project in Zhang Xuhao.
According to the introduction of Zhang Xuhao’s circle of friends, the promotion of PLAYGOLF has the shadow of being hungry in those days, hoping to break people’s stereotype of golf as a luxury sport through low prices. As low as 268 yuan per class, it looks quite "close to the people". According to public information, the size of the golf market has increased from 8.64 billion yuan in 2016 to 10.26 billion yuan in 2020. With the annual growth of consumption data in this field, it also means that the golf market is gradually being accepted by more middle-class consumers.
In fact, Zhang Xuhao’s high-profile entry into the sports track is not his first entrepreneurial attempt in recent years.
After leaving hungry, Zhang Xuhao set up Shanghai Puguan Business Consulting Partnership (Limited Partnership) and Shanghai Yuduo Business Consulting Co., Ltd. in March and April of 2018 respectively, and registered and established Shanghai Geke Business Consulting Co., Ltd. in 2019. The latter holds 100% of Shanghai Geke Sports Technology Development Co., Ltd.
At the same time, Zhang Xuhao also invested in Shanghai Yangwan Network Technology Co., Ltd. in the past three years, accounting for 5% of the shares. The latter is to study the use of blockchain technology to provide credible financial service providers around the world. Although Tianyan found on its homepage that the team got angel round investment in 19 years, it successfully launched DeFi wallet DeBank in early 20 years, and got A round investment at the end of 20 years to accelerate the launch of DeFi wallet products. But at present, there is no more public information about the product and the company.
If Hungry, founded in 2009, was Zhang Xuhao’s vague ambition when he was a student, then today’s high-profile publicity for PLAYGOLF is mostly due to his love.
Aside from the label "founder of Hungry", there is another label about Zhang Xuhao that has been mentioned countless times, and that is "national second-class athlete".
It is reported that Zhang Xuhao loved intense sports since he was a child, such as boxing, basketball and car racing. He loves all kinds of basketball, and once completed the training course for racing drivers and got the qualification certificate. Hungry after the establishment, it is also an "entrepreneurial movement" that makes him feel excited.
Even as a former member of the basketball school team, in 2016, Zhang Xuhao invited his idol Kobe Bryant as a spokesperson for being hungry, which is one of the few unicorns in the take-away industry associated with sports.
Zhang Xuhao once said that how to make sports closely integrated with users, products and corporate culture is the most critical point. As a sports fan who often works out and loves to play basketball, he has an entrepreneurial personality who dares to fight and fight, which may have laid the groundwork for his current entry into the sports circle. He has been looking for suitable opportunities and projects, and PLAYGOLF has become an attempt he is willing to make public.
Like Hungry, Zhang Xuhao still chooses Shanghai for his second venture. The difference is that his wealth is not what it used to be, which makes him quite generous this time. In May this year, Zhang Xuhao ranked 490th in the 2021 New Fortune 500 Rich List with a wealth of 9 billion yuan.
Interestingly, Zhang Xuhao has always shown more love for basketball than golf. Compared with some new generation entrepreneurs, Zhang Xuhao’s values are somewhat traditional. He likes the images of some athletes in the past and values the self-discipline and diligence of entrepreneurs. For the extreme sports that many entrepreneurs are keen on, he said that it is "too dangerous" because "safety is the most important".
In an interview with Lazy Bear Sports in 2017, Zhang Xuhao even bluntly said that under the trend that people in China are paying more and more attention to sports and participating in it, the unicorn "Hungry" will definitely appear in a certain segment of the sports industry in the future. China Capital is also paying more and more attention to the development of the sports industry, and said that sports need to be commercialized, but not over-commercialized, and a balance needs to be found. "Ma Yun’s Tai Ji Chuan is very interesting. You can’t be left or right. To find a middle point, this is wisdom."
In this way, Zhang Xuhao’s investment in PLAYGOLF is not surprising. Golf is indeed a sport that needs wisdom and balance to achieve success. At the same time, as one of the "Four big noble Sports", which is also known as tennis, snooker and bowling, if it can be popularized, it will have great commercial potential for more potential audiences.
Interestingly, although the single lesson of PLAYGOLF is as low as 268 yuan, the cost advantage is not obvious from the price of other golf driving ranges, but the positioning of PLAYGOLF is higher, which makes it more cost-effective.
Of course, PLAYGOLF is not a completely pure golf driving range, but also equipped with outdoor football field, outdoor tennis, indoor basketball, fighting sports and other sports venues, which means that PLAYGOLF is still a comprehensive sports project on the whole, which can also meet more users who love fighting, basketball and other sports, and at the same time realize the integration of entrepreneurship and sports in Zhang Xuhao.
It is worth noting that since the beginning of this year, with the implementation of the policy of prohibiting off-campus subject training, the track of physical education, which has been silent for a long time, has ushered in a change. Beijing Motive Sports acquired Isee Cinderella Children’s Art Center with RMB 400 million, and Hangzhou Youth Sports Education Brand Bingo Movement and Shanghai Seed Nova also completed a new round of financing of RMB 10 million.
The implementation of the "double reduction" policy has greatly increased the demand for sports training. In addition to basketball training, with the rise of the middle class, minority sports such as fencing, baseball and skiing have obvious long tail attributes, and their training market will also be released in the tide of consumption upgrading. The favorable policies will boost the rapid development of the industry.
This year, SNOW51 and Xueleshan, indoor ski training institutions, have successively announced the completion of billion-dollar financing. It can be seen that the market space left by the "double reduction" and the promotion of consumption have made the youth sports training institutions usher in rare development opportunities, and with the help of industrial policy dividends, there will be a broader market space for minority training such as fencing and skiing in the future.
From this point of view, Zhang Xuhao’s high-profile disclosure of the move to enter the sports circle is particularly timely.
An industry insider, who asked not to be named, told Hunting Cloud that Zhang Xuhao added some elements to the transformation of PLAYGOLF, which is a world-famous basketball court, and China Locke Basketball Park also landed in Shanghai.
"In fact, PLAYGOLF is a bit similar to the current hot virtual sports open in the Metauniverse. The target group is 400 million middle-income people in China. By lowering the threshold of high-end sports and redefining the sports consumption scene, the ultimate goal is to improve the frequency of sports."
In his view, golf, racing, skiing, rowing and other high-end sports have been trapped in the venue and price restrictions, so the frequency is not high, but now we can lower the threshold of venue conditions, time constraints and high costs by realizing the operation of sports in urban stores and re-transforming sports consumption scenes, and finally let high-end sports gradually become popular.
Whether the meta-universe or the scene is reconstructed or not, it remains to be seen whether Zhang Xuhao can take a different path with cost performance when Internet gameplay is used in high-end sports.