Why Is Table Tennis So Popular In Asia?

Table tennis is an international sport that has become more popular in recent years. This game is an Olympic sport that attracts a lot of attention as well. Anyone who enters the world of table tennis will quickly find that most of the best players in the world come from Asia. This leads many to wonder why table tennis is so popular in this region.

Table tennis is so popular in Asia due to the success of Chinese table tennis athletes. This sport became popular in China in the ‘80s due to government infrastructure set up to develop a Chinese Olympic table tennis team. The sport quickly spread to other Asian nations after this success.

Many countries participate in table tennis, and many have very successful players. This sport was invented in the UK,  but it has become hugely popular in Asia, as billions of people in this region are known to play the sport. Let’s explore why table tennis is so popular in Asia and how the popularity of the sport came to be.

Why Is Table Tennis So Poplar In Asia?

Table tennis is a popular international sport. This game has been played since the early 1900s and has become popular in many countries.

However, there are no countries where table tennis is as popular as those of eastern Asia. These countries have fully adopted table tennis, and the players here have become the best in the world.

1.4 billion people in China alone are known to play table tennis, and there are millions more in the surrounding nations. This sport has become hugely popular in this region of the world, and many table tennis players wonder why.

Let’s identify and explore some of the most important reasons why table tennis has become so popular in Asian countries.

Ping Pong Diplomacy

Ping pong diplomacy is a famous term that was founded in the examination of the actions of the Chinese Prime Minister in the 1980s.

During this time period, China’s government sought to prove to the rest of the world that the people and leaders of China had recovered from various calamites and were now ready to compete with the rest of the world.

It was determined by these leaders that an effective way to prove how strong China had become was to compete in sports at an international Olympic level. However, due to a lack of funding, lack of space, and lack of athletes, the Chinese government determined that the best way to do this would be through table tennis.

This sport is cheap to set up, infrastructure is easy to install, and it requires very little space compared to other Olympic sports.

The government developed table tennis practice centers and encouraged citizens to practice the sport. Very soon, Chinese table tennis athletes will become the best in the world. Since then, China has dominated the sport of table tennis in the Olympics and has won more gold medals in this sport than any other nation.

The success of table tennis in China led to the spread of the sport into other eastern Asian nations, which subsequently became highly successful at the sport themselves.

China has more table tennis players than any other country, and Japan has the second-most. Korea is full of table tennis champions as well, and the sport continues to spread throughout all of these nations on the Pacific Rim.

Lack Of Space For Sports

Another reason why table tennis is so popular in Eastern Asian countries is simply that there is less space available for sports that require more land. Sports such as footfall require large areas of land to build fields, but this is regarded as a waste of valuable resources in Asia.

The landscape in this region of the world is mostly mountainous. The land in China alone is 66% mountains and is essentially useless for housing and farming of any kind. This means that while there is plenty of empty lands, very little of it is useable for infrastructure.

For this reason, table tennis is a great sport for these nations, as it does not require much space at all. Using valuable land to build sporting arenas is not an option for many governments, but installing indoor table tennis equipment requires no extra land whatsoever.

This keeps the cost of the sport down and makes the game far more accessible to far more people than other sports are.

Lack Of Funding For Sports

Most sporting clubs, events, and infrastructure in Asian countries is supplied and set up by the governments. These governments are less willing to set up highly expensive sporting buildings and other infrastructure but are more willing to fund table tennis.

As the Chinese government discovered in the ‘80s, it is very cheap to set up and maintain table tennis equipment, and so they continue to do so, which keeps the local people playing the game, as there are few other alternatives in most regions.


Table tennis has become so popular in Asian countries due to the accessibility to the sport. The fact that the governments set up the infrastructure for the sport so well in these nations means that many people have access to it, and therefore, many people play it.

The game has become widely popular because there is so much access to it. If another sport was as well supported in these countries, it might well be as popular as table tennis.

However, the only sport that many people have access to in very built-up and dense Asian cities is table tennis, so it will remain widely popular.


Table tennis is far more popular than most people realize. Almost all Asian countries are highly skilled in table tennis and produce some of the best players in the world. Countries such as China and Japan consistently win international table tennis tournaments.

This sport is so popular in these countries due to the involvement of the government in setting up infrastructure for the sport and the accessibility that the people have been given to table tennis. Table tennis is not encouraged as highly in any other region of the world.


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