Li Ning, the Chinese athletics apparel company, opened its first store in the United States in January, choosing the hometown of Nike – Portland, Oregon – as a location.
The company, which has been growing at breakneck speed, has already probably overtaken Adidas as the second largest player in the China’s $10 billion sportswear market and some analysts think it could even have topped the chart above Nike, which booked around $1.1 billion of revenues in 2009.
Yesterday, I happened to be down at the UK pavilion at the Shanghai Expo and saw David Percival, the head of Inward Investment for the UK Trade and Industry ministry.
He was on his way to an afternoon meeting with Li Ning himself, and said the former Olympic gymnast-turned-sportswear tycoon was interested in doing some research and design in the UK, sourcing some textiles, and perhaps even dipping his toe into the UK market. Will Europe be the next market for Li Ning to move into, and will the UK be the first stop?