Nike Feels the Burn as Anta and Li-Ning Continue Their Winning Streak
As Greater China headwinds continue to buffet Nike, domestic brands are thriving: Hong Kong-listed sportswear group Anta celebrated its 30th anniversary last year with solid sales growth and a pledge to expand its market share, while Chinese sportswear label Li-Ning outshone larger rivals with a rocketing sales growth of 56 percent — which saw all segments perform well.
Hong Kong-listed sportswear label Anta celebrated its 30th anniversary last year with solid sales growth and a pledge to expand its market share in China over the next five years. The “Lead to Win” acceleration plan falls within a wider 10-year strategy “to become a globalised multi brand sportswear group.”
In 2021, revenue rose by 39 percent to $7.75 billion (49.3 billion RMB), with roughly half of this coming from Anta itself (which grew by 53 percent). Fila used to be the largest in the group but it grew only half as fast in 2021 and was overtaken. The two outfits together account for 93 percent of the company’s total revenue, with others such as Descente and Kolon Sport making up the rest.
Now that Anta has taken the lead, it is likely to keep it. The label has just over 9,400 stores (mostly in the mainland), far outstripping Fila which owns a little more than 2,000. As the official partner of the Beijing Winter Olympics, Anta provided Chinese athletes like Eileen Gu, and Wu Dajing with equipment and apparel — enjoying huge exposure as a result. The sales impact will be seen in the coming quarters.
August saw China’s State Council push forward with a mass fitness program, which is projected to generate billions in income for the sportswear industry. In addition, the highly fragmented kidswear market is still under-exploited (the top 10 sports brands combined have only a 20 percent market share), making it a target for Anta.
Despite the strong performance and prospects, the group’s stock tumbled after its results were released on March 22, continuing a steady decline. During the past month, the shares slipped by 8.7 percent and they are down 32 percent over the past 12 months.
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