Nike, Adidas losing to Chinese home brands
Published: Mar 22, 2022 06:17 PM Updated: Mar 22, 2022 06:12 PM

At the 4th CIIE, Nike holds an exhibition of products used by athletes cooperating with Nike in each era of its 40 years in the Chinese market. Photo: Xie Jun/GT
At the 4th CIIE, Nike holds an exhibition of products used by athletes cooperating with Nike in each era of its 40 years in the Chinese market. Photo: Xie Jun/GT

China's sportswear market is evolving with the 'halo' hovering on international brands like Adidas and Nike quickly dissipating, while Chinese consumers start to embrace domestic rival brands such as Anta and Li Ning.

The trend is further intensifying in recent months judging by the different market response received by domestic and overseas sportswear brands, with several domestic companies witnessing rapid market growth, while overseas brands' revenues stagnate.

According to financial data published the US sportswear giant Nike on Tuesday, the company's overall revenues surged by 5 percent to $10.87 billion in the three months ending February, but its revenues in the so-called Greater China Region dropped by 5 percent year-on-year to $2.16 billion. 

The company said that the growth had shown some improvement for the company in the Chinese market, because it narrowed from a 24 percent drop registered for the previous quarter. 

Nike said at a teleconference call that the company's business performance in the Greater China region this past quarter is in line with expectations, and that performance might get better in the next quarter.

German sportswear brand Adidas also saw its fourth-quarter revenue ending December 31 fall 24 percent year-on-year in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and the island of Taiwan, which the company attributed to "challenging" market environment.

In contrast to the business bottleneck faced by the overseas brands, domestic sportswear companies are experiencing a boom as they see stronger growth of revenues and profits as a result of market sentiment shifting to favor domestic brands. 

Chinese sports and fashion brand Li Ning saw its profits in 2021 rise 136 percent to reach 4 billion yuan ($629 million), while its revenues increased by 56 percent to hit 22.57 billion yuan in 2021, according to the company's financial report released on Friday.

Another high-profile domestic sportswear Anta saw its revenues grow 52.5 percent to reach 24 billion yuan in 2021, while its gross profit in the region surged 78.1 percent on a yearly basis, the company's financial statistics showed on Tuesday. 

The changes taking place in China's sportswear market, with overseas brands losing prestige among young Chinese consumers, who now opt to support Chinese products on the back of a new wave of patriotism. 

A number of domestic brands including Li Ning and Anta have taken action to support the cotton grown in northwestern China's Xinjiang after some Western clothing brands announced to stay away following the US government's smearing campaign against Xinjiang. 

Also, the improving coronavirus situation in the Chinese mainland helped the brands' business to rebound, albeit at a different rate.