Yao Ming Partners With 24 Hour Fitness to Launch Signature Sports Clubs in China

24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, the largest privately owned U.S. fitness chain and leading health club pioneers, announced a partnership with five-time NBA All-Star Yao Ming to open its first health club in mainland China.
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SAN RAMON, Calif. -- 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, the largest privately owned U.S. fitness chain and leading health club pioneers, announced a partnership with five-time NBA All-Star Yao Ming to open its first health club in mainland China. The signature sports club, which will be called California Fitness - Yao Ming Sport Club, will open in August 2007. California Fitness, which currently operates 24 locations across Asia, is a wholly owned subsidiary of 24 Hour Fitness.

As part of the multi-year joint venture, Yao will be an equity partner and play an active role in the creation, development and operation of multiple clubs. Additionally, he will appear in advertising and make promotional appearances on behalf of the club.

"We've had success in Asia already and felt the time was right to move into mainland China with the growing interest in health and fitness," said Mark S. Mastrov, Chairman of 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide. "And what better partner to do it with than Yao Ming? He is an exceptional athlete who has shown what can be achieved through hard work and a healthy lifestyle. We know he'll be a terrific global ambassador for promoting the importance of fitness."

Yao joins an elite group of sports and fitness superstars that have partnered with 24 Hour Fitness to create signature sport clubs, including Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Jackie Chan.

"California Fitness/24 Hour Fitness is the best at what they do -- helping people improve their lives through health and fitness, and that is why I've partnered with them," said Yao. "Especially in the larger cities in China, people's lifestyles are changing and it's having an impact on their health. In order to achieve my personal goals, I spend a lot of time getting stronger through exercise. I want to lead by example and encourage people to live better by incorporating fitness into their daily lives."

Located in The Place, on the west side of Beijing's Central Business District, the California Fitness - Yao Ming Sport Club will occupy nearly 40,000 sq. ft and will offer members a full service gym with numerous amenities including a 3-on-3 basketball court, two Group X® studios, cycling studio, cardio machines, a complete range of free weights and comprehensive resistance equipment, Xpress Zone®, a stretch area, and steam and sauna facilities.

The state-of-the-art facility will include environmentally-friendly features such as an air purification system to provide optimum conditions for working out for its members. Additionally, through a partnership with a company called Motorwave, the club will be outfitted with a "Powered by You" section that uses human energy to create electricity.

All cardio machines, excluding treadmills, will have technology that repurposes excess electricity produced by the machines to run fluorescent lighting in the club. Currently, most cardio machines only utilize 10% of the electricity created by machines in use, while 90% is dissipated in the form of heat. California Fitness was the first health club in the world to utilize this type of technology in one of its Hong Kong locations.

About 24 Hour Fitness

Headquartered in San Ramon, Calif., 24 Hour Fitness, an innovative leader in the health and fitness industry, serves more than 3 million members in over 350 clubs across 14 different states and four countries in Asia. Founded in 1983 as a one-club operation by Chairman and Founder Mark S. Mastrov, 24 Hour Fitness pioneered the concept of making fitness accessible, affordable and a way of life for everyone. Supporting the communities it serves, 24 Hour Fitness sponsors many charitable events and organizations including the 2004 - 2008 U.S. Olympic Teams and the Magic Johnson, Andre Agassi, Shaquille O'Neal and Lance Armstrong Foundations. Please call 1-800-224-0240 or visit www.24HourFitness.com: for more information and to find the location nearest you.

About California Fitness

California Fitness, established in 1996, is a wholly owned subsidiary of 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide. California Fitness is renowned for pioneering the fitness Industry in Asia. The company introduced the mega gym concept to Hong Kong with the opening of their first club in the Central district. Currently with 24 total locations of which 10 are in Hong Kong, 6 in Taiwan, 4 in Singapore, 3 in Malaysia and 1 in mainland China. California Fitness has an aggressive expansion plan intended for all existing as well as new markets. California Fitness prides itself on helping members live better through health and fitness in the countries and communities that it serves.

About Yao Ming

Yao Ming was born on September 12, 1980 in Shanghai, China. He had a prominent five year career in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) which culminated with him leading the Shanghai Sharks to the CBA Championship before taking his game to the next level and declaring for the 2002 NBA Draft at the age of 22. With their pick, the Houston Rockets made Yao the first foreign-born and developed player to be selected number one in the NBA draft. Since breaking into the league in 2002, Yao has flourished as the premier big man in the NBA. In his rookie season, Yao was voted The Sporting News Rookie of the Year by NBA Executives and was also named a member of the NBA's All-Rookie First Team. Yao has also been voted a five-time NBA All-Star (2003, '04, '05, '06, '07) by the fans; twice ('05, '06) the league's leading vote getter. Yao's popularity and global icon status are also reflected in his work off the court. He serves as a global ambassador to the Special Olympics and is active in the NBA's Basketball Without Borders campaign. In 2003, Yao was listed in TIME Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world while Sports Illustrated ranked him as the seventh most influential minority in the world. In 2006, Yao joined the world anti-AIDS campaign and recently met with AIDS-orphaned children at an event. He was so moved by the children that he plans on inviting them to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

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