Nike puts a better foot forward in China

2 minute read

People walk past a Nike store in a shopping district following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beijing, China, April 5, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

HONG KONG, June 22 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Nike’s (NKE.N) China bulls can let out a sigh of relief. The sneaker-maker has had a tough run, with revenue in Greater China for the nine months to the end of February falling 11%. But online sales during this year’s “618” festival - the annual shopping extravaganza during the first 18 days of June - brought in 570 million yuan ($85 million), a whopping 171% increase compared to last year. That even beats local competitors such as Li Ning (2331.HK) and Xtep (1368.HK).

The $171 billion sportswear giant run by John Donahoe has been beset by a number of hurdles, not least Covid-19 lockdowns, political and consumer backlash due to the Xinjiang cotton controversy read more and local competitors vying for market share. Now it’s prioritising local consumers by offering China-specific platforms read more and partnering with Hong Kong-listed Topsports (6110.HK) and Pou Sheng (3813.HK), two of the biggest domestic sports retailers in Mainland China.

Nike estimates the country’s market for its gear could grow to 500 million people, 10 times that of North America. That’s a big if, but the Swoosh deserves to celebrate its smaller victories. (By Thomas Shum)

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

Follow @Breakingviews on Twitter

Capital Calls - More concise insights on global finance:

Spirit dogfight costs more by the day read more

Leonardo finds way out of defence IPO bind read more

Mondelez health kick requires more reps read more

M&A winter hits a rare inflation-proof hotspot read more

Markets bring Italy’s hydrogen IPO back to earth read more

Register now for FREE unlimited access to
Editing by Antony Currie and Pranav Kiran

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Opinions expressed are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of Reuters News, which, under the Trust Principles, is committed to integrity, independence, and freedom from bias.