SBD/Issue 72/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Li Ning To Open First Showroom In U.S. Under Subsidiary

Li Ning Set To Open First U.S. Store
In Oregon In January
The fast-growing Chinese athletic shoe and clothing maker Li Ning “will open its first” U.S. store in Nike's backyard on Jan. 4, according to the AP. Beijing-based Li Ning.'s products are available at more than 6,000 outlets in China, but its subsidiary Li Ning Sports USA “hasn't tried to sell shoes to Americans.” It will open a showroom at its two-year-old design center in Portland's Pearl District, and the showroom's grand opening will include an appearance by Clippers G Baron Davis, “perhaps the most recognizable athlete” to endorse Li Ning for U.S. customers. Cavaliers C Shaquille O'Neal endorses Li Ning in China. With the showroom’s opening, the U.S. subsidiary “hopes to launch an Internet e-commerce site aimed at American customers” by late January. The company’s U.S. Creativity Center Chief Rep. Jay Li said that Li Ning chose Portland for its U.S. design center over Boston, the “other American city with significant shoe-design talent, partly because Portland's location and time zone allows for quicker travel and easier communications with Beijing.” Li: “The primary objective of us being here is not to sell our products (in America). The primary objective of us being here is to upgrade our talent. We're not quite ready to compete with the big boys. … We are really here to learn. We're not here to challenge. We're not there yet. I don't think (Nike executives) need to worry too much about us at this point.” Paul Swangard, Managing Dir of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the Univ. of Oregon, said of Li Ning, “They see themselves as one of the next great global brands. It's an inherently competitive business because it's a sports business. To not have come to Portland would almost suggest you're not ready to play with the big boys" (AP, 12/24).

LI NING COMPANY PROFILE
Founded
'90
HQs
Beijing
Employees
3,000*
Storefronts
6,000**
Sales ('08)
$984M^
Brands
Li Ning (footwear/apparel);
Z-Do (low-cost merchandise); Kason (badminton)^^

NOTES: * = worldwide. ** = storefronts in China. Not included are a handful of other stores in South Asia. ^ = Company also had sales of $596M in first half of '09. ^^ = Li Ning also has a controlling interest in Double Happiness (table tennis), and has agreements with France's Aigle and Italy's Lotto brands for the Chinese market.

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