We at CER don’t really understand sports, but the announcement that NBA star Dwayne Wade would design shoes in China seems like the biggest basketball move since that Dunkin Donuts spokesman went from that one team in Ohio to that other one in Florida. Sports apparel maker Li Ning is hoping to turn it all around – the slipping market share, the $323 million loss last year – with Wade’s help. The bid for publicity was the company’s second choice: First they had suggested holding the Beijing Olympics again, so the company’s founder could again Peter Pan it around the stadium to showcase the shoe’s ability to make you fly. The plan floundered for logistical reasons.
Meanwhile, China’s largest state-owned shipping company, China Cosco Holdings, is hoping to have their own game changer. The company’s chairman Wei Jiafu stepped down, citing that he had always been married to the sea, which had distracted from management of the firm and led to the two consecutive years of losses. His exit reportedly went down kind of like this, with Wei stripping down and walking out to sea. With the seemingly unending downturn in shipping and Cosco’s nearly imminent delisting, his successor may want to consider that as an option as well.
Everyone in China seems to be looking for a turnaround. Malls are struggling to fill space and waiving rents as a result, a business model that Carnegie himself would surely approve of. Japanese car sellers are still reeling from tension between their homeland and China and posted their fourth quarter of declining sales. It would appear there are some problems that even an army of air dancers cannot solve.