Hurting at home, China sports brand Li Ning courts US glitz
HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's biggest sportswear brand, Li Ning Co Ltd, launched its newest brand at a gala event in Texas last month with US basketball star Dwayne Wade, resplendent in gold bow tie and plaid suit, showing off sports shoes he helped design.
But his fans can't buy them yet.
Li Ning, founded by the Chinese Olympic gymnast of the same name, has no stores in the United States and recently shut the e-commerce section of its US website.
While luring Wade from rival Nike Inc last year in a sponsorship deal worth an estimated US$100 million (S$125 million) over 10 years is a major coup for the Chinese firm, it has left analysts puzzling the logic of splashing out on an expensive NBA superstar with no apparent US retail strategy in place.