Li Ning Group is one of the leading sports brand companies in China, providing footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for professional and leisure purposes mainly under the Li Ning brand.
Their headquarters are based in Beijing, and the Li Ning Group has brand marketing, research and development, design, manufacturing, distribution and retail capabilities. It has established an extensive supply chain management system and a retail distribution network in China.
They just launched a new competition microsite where you can customise your favourite sport gear, scan bar code to get prizes. Facing the relentless competition of Nike, adidas and Under Armour on both its home turf and abroad, Li-Ning has had to adjust its product and growth strategies to focus less on hard-core athletic gear as a free-expression trendcontinues to grow among China’s fashion-savvy youth.
One aspect where Li-Ning has been comparatively successful is with sponsorship deals, mainly with NBA star Dwyane Wade. The brand, which signed Wade in 2012, has built up its brand awareness abroad and its street cred among basketball-obsessed Chinese with the deal, which has seen Wade release personalized basketball shoe and gear designs for the brand. It has also focused much of its growth on e-commerce—a rapidly growing channel in China.
Li-Ning, which is already the third largest sports apparel company in the world, has also expanded to the US. In 2012, the company rolled out its US branded website, which has seen a 600 percent increase in web traffic since its soft launch in late 2011. The company differentiates itself by emphasizing its Eastern philosophy around movement.
But relative success in the US won’t keep Li-Ning afloat in the global market that is still being driven by its home country. Adidas, Nike and Under Armour continue to invest in China, debuting unique merchandise and retailing concepts, like adidas’ new HomeCourt store design and Under Armour’s “Retail Theater” experience in Shanghai, which also aims to speak to the specific athletic needs of Chinese consumers. Time will tell if Li Ning has been successful in re- conquering its home market.