The Captain just went to Zhuhai(珠海) for work purposes, though i could take some time off to browse around the vibrant port city of China that i had never been.
Throughout my whole trip, the biggest gain to me was the opportunity to have browsed all 4 stores of the biggest sports brand names of China. I will continue what i did in Zhuhai later.
Okay, the following is what i think about the 4 top dogs:
HK Stocks: 2331.HK, $21.9 (as of 2009-10-15)
Endorsers: Shaquille O'Neal (Cleveland Cavaliers), Baron Davis (Los Angeles Clippers), Yelena Isinbayeva (Women's pole vault World Record holder)
I have always admired the 'Prince of Gymnastics'. Li Ning, one of the most successful athlete-turned-entrepreneur. His desire to learn and his love for his family are something that the modern businessmen should learn.
Something about Li-Ning and i is that i have actually contacted the staff at Li-Ning to grab related information for one of my assignments. That assignment was 300,000-word long and i only got a pass for it because the teacher said that i overanalysed it.
Anyway, Li-Ning's products are still arguably the best amongst all Chinese sports brands in terms of quality and design. This is understandable since Li-Ning is globally-focused and continuing to expand to different ends of the world. Surely Li-Ning needs to adapt to different cultures for people's tastes.
Li-Ning has also executed correct and fantastic global expansion strategies - celebrities endorsement. Most remarkably the proud sponsors of Spanish National Team and Argentina National Team. The new sposorship of Yelena Isinbayeva is absolutely sensational to their brand value.
Future: Li-Ning will continue to grow as one of the top sports brands in the world. Better yet, still no match to Nike and Adidas. But eyes on Li-Ning? Every pair.
HK Stocks: 1968.HK, $3.670 (as of 2009-10-15)
Endorsers: Ron Artest (Los Angeles Lakers), Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks), Shane Battier (Houston Rockets)
Peak is one of the earliest sports brands of China. Its products have exsisted in Chinese market for a long time yet it never really got out of the mainland most likely until Li-Ning did its signings with National Teams of other countries.
I think Peak had realized its potential to become a global brand after Li-Ning did so. I cannot say they did it too late, though i reckon Peak could possibly have been a bigger name than Li-Ning if they had executed its globalization earlier.
As i said before that Peak has long exsisted in the sports apparels game, its quality of products is excellent. Besides, signings of the NBA players and the FIBA sponsorship are a lock for Peak to stay on top of the game.
Future: My personal opinion is to focus on expanding its NBA signings. Peak currently has 7 NBA endorers, which make up to be 'the most NBA players' Chinese sponsor. I don't think Peak can expand other lines of products, focusing on Chinese market, NBA players endorsement and the U.S. would be a wise business decision.
HK Stocks: 2020.HK, $10.08 (as of 2009-10-15)
Endorsers: Luis Scola (Argentina Basketball National Team), Jelena Jankovic (World-famous tennis player), Zheng Jie (World-famous tennis player)
When i stepped into the 5,000 feet, 2-floor store of Anta, it gave me a very positive, clean and neat impression. Anta has always given me a positive image among other Chinese sports brands. Its great quality of products, better designs and smart signings of Jelena Jankovic and Zheng Jie all contribute to the positive brand image.
Anta's goods are better-designed and better-diversified compared to 3 of them. As Anta has exposed largely to the world, the designs of products probably matter the most. Personally, Anta has a slight advantage over the other 3 in terms of design.
Future: Future is looking good for Anta. What i would suggest is do not look for sponsorship of national teams like how Li-Ning and Peak do. Do what you do, establish the company image as a style, functions and design focused brand. Differentiate yourself Anta!
HK Stocks: 1361.HK, $4.480 (as of 2009-10-15)
When i looked around the shop and checked out the products, i was wondering how come even 361 could get into the stocks market of HK? Quality is average, though some are good and pretty stylish. This badminton & running-focused (from what i see)brand is lacking advantages over other brands.
Perhaps 361 knows what they are not good at, i could see 361 was trying to build up an image as a modernized, street and young style of brand. And it is actually not bad, as i could see its actiona such as sponsors Chinese University Basketball Super League and became the apparels provider of 9 provinces in Chinese Olympics.
Future: 361 can play a strong role in China. I mean inside China. I don't think 361 can go beyond China and hit the world market. If 361 wants to fully compete with the 3 brands above, it immediately needs a powerful endorser and employs a fashion designer.
Last thoughts: All these brands are good but are bad at marketing and advertising. The designs of their goods are old-fashioned and framed. Nonetheless, i am just so proud of them going global. Chinese pride.