Adidas sees huge potential in China

Ding Yining
The company's sales growth in China is almost three times its global growth rate.
Ding Yining

German sportswear giant adidas is investing heavily in China — where sales growth is triple its global rate — planning to open more than 1,000 stores across the country this year and expanding its online presence.

It aims to double the number of cities where it has a physical presence to 2,400 in the world's second-largest economy, without giving a specific timetable.

Online retailing is the company's fastest growing channel in China, jumping more than 50 percent last year, compared with 36 percent globally.

"The opportunity in China is unbelievably large," said CEO Kasper Rørsted. 

Commenting on local player Anta Sports Products Ltd's 5.6 billion euro (US$6.29 billion) takeover offer for Finland’s Amer Sports, he noted that the sportswear market is not very consolidated with many local competitors in different markets so there's no fundamental change to the market dynamic on a global level. Adidas will continue to learn from local competitors, he said. 

"China and North America make up half of the (global) sporting goods market and winning in these two markets is naturally our priority, and we intend to differentiate products for millennials by connecting with them and launching local celebrity endorsements," he said. 

Brand spokespeople for adidas' Orginal line in China include the actress Angelababy and actor-singer Wu Yifan. 

"As many as 90 percent of consumers are learning about products through digital channels before they purchase and we have been connecting our physical stores with online retailing," said Colin Currie, managing director of adidas Asia Pacific.

China's sportswear market is expected surge to 312 billion yuan (US$46.36 billion) by 2023 from 212 billion yuan last year, according to international market research firm Mintel.

Total China sales — the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan — grew 23 percent last year, compared with global growth of 8 percent. 

Adidas aims for 4 billion euros sales globally through its own online channels by 2020. 

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