The Chinese creatine industry (2022)

Creatine is an amino acid located in the body’s muscles as well as in the brain. Most people get creatine through seafood and red meat. The body’s liver, pancreas and kidneys also can make about 1 gram of creatine per day. The body stores creatine as phosphocreatine primarily in the muscles, where it is used for energy. As a result, body builders take creatine orally to improve athletic performance and increase muscle mass.


Creatine is made up of arginine, glycine and methionine The substances synthesized by three amino acids can be synthesized by the human body itself or ingested from food, and the common creatine on the market currently includes creatine monohydrate, complex creatine and creatine compounds. Creatine not only provides energy quickly, but also increases strength, builds muscle, and speeds up fatigue recovery. The more creatine is stored in the body, the more energy is supplied, the faster fatigue recovery and the stronger the exercise energy. Creatine can be used as a nutritional enhancer, food additive, pharmaceutical raw material and health care product additive, and can also be directly made into capsules and tablets for oral administration; In addition, creatine can also be used as a cosmetic surfactant, feed additive and creatine derivative.

The industry

Compared with overseas markets, the Chinese creatine industry has certain advantages in raw materials, energy and environmental protection. Driven by the downstream market, the capacity growth of the domestic creatine industry is high, but the overall capacity utilization rate leaves to be desired, with a capacity utilization rate in 2021 ofchina approximately 67.3%. In 2021, the domestic creatine production capacity was 43,000 tons. Actual production was 28,949 tons, with a compound growth rate since 2016 of 6.52%。


At present, Chinese creatine is mainly exported as primary product. Foreign markets are more mature, domestic market consumption is still in the development stage, but with the growth of demand for creatine downstream applications, the creatine market is expected to grow in the near future. The domestic demand for creatine in 2021 was 7808 mt, with a compound growth rate of demand since 2016 of 7.78%.

Creatine is widely used in medicine, food, health products, feed, chemical industry and other fields, in 2021, the demand for creatine in the fields of medicine, food and health products in China was 3425 tons, and the demand for creatine in feed, chemical industry and other fields 4383 tons.


With the issuance of the Opinions of the State Council on the Implementation of the Healthy China Initiative and the Healthy China Action (2019-2030), a disease management and health service model of combining medical and physical education is currently being promoted at full speed. This has become a new trend of cross-integration of the big health industry and the big sports industry and is expected to give a big boost to China’s sports nutrition industry. With the improvement of the living standards of Chinese consumers, the demand for sports nutrition products is rising, and a large number of people want to take sports supplements to improve sports performance or improve physical condition. 30% of Chinese (urban) citizens were regular exercisers in 2020, though only a minority of them were members of a local gym.

Peter Peverelli is active in and with China since 1975 and regularly travels to the remotest corners of that vast nation. He is a co-author of a major book introducing the cultural drivers behind China’s economic success.