Fujian-based sportswear producer outbid others to dress Team China

Updated: 26 Jun 2009
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Anta sportswear's logo


The Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) signed a four-year sponsorship contract with sports apparel provider Anta Sports on Tuesday to dress the national team at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games and the 2012 London Olympics, as well as 9 other major international competitions from 2009-2012.

Reports revealed the Fujian-based domestic sportswear producer had outbid more fancied international rivals, such as Adidas AG and Nike.

According to the contract, the athletes will don Anta gear at ceremonies and on the podium when accepting medals in London and elsewhere.

While the value of the contract was not disclosed, COC Vice President Wang Jun said it was worth "more than double the best previous contract". It could be worth about half a billion yuan ($ 73 million), according to some sources.

Sportswear makers in China, spurred by increased consumer interest in sporting goods since the Beijing Olympics, have stepped up marketing and scrambled to sponsor foreign and local Olympic gold medalists.

"We conducted strict investigations and made overall assessments before making the decision to choose Anta as the sponsor," said Wang. "Domestic producers like Anta have been increasing their marketing and have been long devoted to China's sports industry."

Adidas and Nike, with big sponsorship budgets and experience working with COC, were considered favorites for the sponsorship.

Adidas spent about 100 million pounds ($ 163 million) sponsoring the Beijing Games and outfitted the Chinese team and Games organizers.

It will make a similar investment in the 2012 Olympics in London.

But much to the big brands' surprise, domestic producers have adopted aggressive and competitive marketing strategies in the past years to become major contenders in international sports marketing arena.

This year, Anta bought the endorsement of tennis players Jelena Jankovic, ranked sixth in the world and formerly with Adidas' Reebok International Ltd, and top Chinese player Zheng Jie.

Li Ning Co in March lured world-record pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva away from Adidas, the world's second-biggest sporting goods maker before replacing Japan's Yonex Co to equip the Chinese national badminton team, adding to existing partnerships with the table tennis, gymnastics, shooting and diving teams.

Another Fujian-based company, Peak, underlines the spread of China-made sportswear after sponsoring the Argentine basketball and Iraqi soccer teams.

Peak also became the first Chinese sports brand to sponsor NBA games in 2005 and later contracted Houston Rockets star Shane Battier and former New Jersey Nets and current Dallas Mavericks' all-star guard Jason Kidd as spokesmen.

Source: China Daily/Agencies


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