With patriotic clothing lines, Adidas hopes to regain market share in China, which was once the company’s largest growth market. The Asian country manager for the German sportswear brand, Adrian Siu, stated: Although Adidas has been operating in mainland China for more than 20 years, we have experienced numerous highs and lows. 2022 was a challenging year, and it is likely that this year will not be much easier.
Adidas turns local to avoid crisis over Chinese
Björn Gulden, the group’s new chief executive, joined from Puma in January to turn around Nike’s biggest rival, which is also reeling from its split from disgraced rapper Kanye West and the loss of its Russia business. Reviving the group’s fortunes in China is a top priority for Gulden.
Since 2019, Adidas has suffered a severe decline in sales in China due to prolonged lockdowns, which were exacerbated by a backlash against Western brands for refusing to purchase cotton from Xinjiang, which human rights activists claim involves forced labor.
The rise of local manufacturers of sportswear like Anta and Li-Ning has made western brands more competitive. Adidas’s sales in the region decreased by 36% to €3.2 billion in 2018, which was only half of what the company had anticipated for 2019. Tailoring more clothes for the local customer is one component of the turnaround strategy.
The Chinese consumer’s faith in traditional Chinese culture is growing. . . To win the hearts and minds of, we are combining international product design with traditional Chinese elements. . . young clients,” Siu stated. The Adidas chief brandished a red Adidas tracksuit top with “China” sprinkled across it in Chinese characters, part of another line that he says has been taking off the racks.
Adidas shook up its top management in China a year ago by acquiring Siu from Cosmo Lady. Before joining the Chinese lingerie manufacturer as chief executive in 2019, he oversaw Adidas’ operation in the city as a manager with training in Hong Kong.