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Shoe Giant Li Ning Grows at Nike’s Expense in China

  • Li Ning grew 66% year-over-year in value, according to Kantar BrandZ.
  • The brand has challenged Nike for market share in China.
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Apparel brand Li Ning continues to rise in China, claiming market share from Nike and Adidas.

The brand grew 66% in value from last year to $3.4 billion, according to Kantar BrandZ’s annual evaluation of Chinese companies. Technical improvements and consumer nationalism both contributed to the rapid growth.

  • Li Ning’s revenue grew 21.7% year-over-year in the first half of the year to $1.8 billion.
  • Its net profits rose 11.6% to $319.6 million, despite a decline in margins to 17.6% from 19.2%. 
  • While the company’s apparel sales dipped slightly from $739.1 million in H1 2021 to $716.4 million, footwear revenue jumped 47.1% to $986.8 million.

Nike, meanwhile, saw revenue in the Greater China region drop 20% year-over-year (excluding currency changes) in the fiscal quarter ending May 31 to $1.6 billion, led by $1.2 billion in footwear sales.

Tencent Still Tops

Tencent retained its spot as the most valuable brand in Kantar’s rankings at $204 billion, outpacing second-place Alibaba’s $137 billion.

The top 100 Chinese brands fell 20% in total value to $1.24 trillion, as pandemic and supply chain disruptions affected broad swaths of the economy.

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