Despite what Hearn says snooker is dying as a participation sport in the UK. Clubs have closed down everywhere. I don't believe that it is seen as a "honorable profession" and still has that "wasted youth" tag about it. Even if you have the natural talent where do you play?
The fact that so many professionals are hanging around the circuit in their mid to late 40s shows the lack of talented youngsters that have broken through in the last 10 years.
It is also a fairly 'traditional' sport but maybe a bit slow for today's youth who are used to instant gratification? Do they really want to sit through absorbing tactical battles, or a final that takes two whole days to complete, which potentially will only get exciting towards the end of the second day?
Countries that used to be fairly strong at snooker are not producing any good young players at all, such as Australia and Canada.
First class cricket is suffering in the same way.
Hearn has realised this and is tapping potential new markets, in continental europe and the far east. Kids in the far east see the potential earning power at least. Not just China but THailand, Malaysia and other places also.