May 28, 2008, 5:49 p.m. EDT · Recommend (1) · Post:
China sportswear maker looks abroad
Li Ning is first Chinese company to sponsor a U.S. Olympic team
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By Moming Zhou, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- As global sportswear giants like as Nike and Adidas spend heavily to sponsor Chinese teams ahead of this summer's Olympics Games in Beijing, one of China's major domestic brands wants to turn the tables.
Li Ning Group Ltd. /quotes/comstock/22h!e:2331 (HK:2331 24.25, -0.20, -0.82%) , China's biggest sports gear maker by revenue, said earlier this year that it will be the official apparel sponsor of the U.S. national table tennis team, making it the first Chinese company to supply a U.S. national team. Li Ning will provide the U.S. team with uniforms and other gear for the next five years.
Despite its red-hot growth rate, China still lacks a flagship national brand to match its high profile in the global economy.
Chinese companies have been trying to change that, and are actively seeking international exposure, led by Lenovo Co. /quotes/comstock/11i!lnvgy (LNVG.Y 13.00, -0.30, -2.26%) . The computer maker purchased IBM's PC division in 2005, snatching up the ThinkPad laptop brand.
The globally televised Olympics Games will provide an unprecedented opportunity for Chinese brands to make their name known to foreign consumers - a fact not lost on Li Ning.
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