Li-Ning, Third Largest Sports Apparel Company in the World, Officially Rolls Out Brand to the U.S. Market

Li-Ning, a leading athletic footwear and apparel company founded by Chinese Olympic medal-winning gymnast Li Ning, strengthened its position in the U.S. market today with the full rollout of its Digital Li-Ning brand website, which includes new styles for men and women, key partnerships with Olympic athletes and its eCommerce website.
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CHICAGO --Li-Ning, a leading athletic footwear and apparel company founded by Chinese Olympic medal-winning gymnast Li Ning, strengthened its position in the U.S. market today with the full rollout of its Digital Li-Ning brand website, which includes new styles for men and women, key partnerships with Olympic athletes and its eCommerce website.

The U.S. division of Li-Ning will make Chicago its home, led by top marketing executives with more than 20 years of experience in brand management, digital and consumer marketing, and product design and development for some of the world's largest brands.

Coming off of a nearly 600 percent increase in daily Web traffic since its soft launch in late 2011, Li-Ning's official U.S. rollout includes a built out product line in basketball, running and women's fitness, as well as limited edition styles such as the Year of the Dragon Turningpoint basketball shoes. The company will continue to release additional styles in both men's and women's apparel and shoes throughout 2012.

The Philosophy behind Digital Li-Ning:

Digital Li-Ning's embodiment of Eastern philosophies and principles around movement drive the brand's value proposition and differentiate the company from other leading footwear and apparel competitors by offering consumers an opportunity to defeat the ordinary everyday. Furthermore, U.S. consumer demand for Chinese brands is increasing as indicated by marketing communications firm JWT's"100 Things to Watch"Report and brand consultancy Mongram Group's ChineseBrand Survey 2011. Both of which indicated a shifting perception of the "Made in China" brand.

"U.S. consumers are really connecting with the brand and the Eastern philosophies that drive it," said Craig Heisner, VP of Marketing, Sales and Merchandise for Li-Ning. "They are looking for something different and are more open to exploring a well-established brand in China that is fresh and new here in the States. The online response has been overwhelming and we have seen nearly 20 times the amount of Facebook 'Likes' just in the last 2 months. That success is simply a small marker of a larger strategy to further the company's progress as a global brand as we continue to roll out in 2012."

The Strategy behind Digital Li-Ning:

As a joint venture with leading brand eCommerce and digital marketing companyAcquity Group, the U.S. rollout of Li-Ning is part of a virtual marketing strategy unlike any other previously attempted by a Chinese company. Through Acquity Group's Brand eCommerce™ approach, Digital Li-Ning aims to invoke stronger bonds with the consumer through a solely virtual experience that enables them to feel the personality of the brand as if they were standing in a brick and mortar location.

The Digital Li-Ning executive team is made up of industry veterans, combining extensive branding experience for leading footwear companies with strong backgrounds in digital marketing and eCommerce strategy for top technology companies.

General Manager Ray Grady joins Digital Li-Ning with a strong digital marketing background, with a particular emphasis on global brand expansion. As the VP of Marketing, Sales and Merchandise for Digital Li-Ning, Craig Heisner provides more than 20 years of experience working with some of the leading athletic footwear and apparel brands and a deep understanding of strategy and branding. Jeff Neville, VP of Operations and COO for Digital Li-Ning, also brings decades of experience in IT and eCommerce strategy that is essential for the success of Li-Ning's U.S. debut.

As part of its U.S. debut, Li-Ning recently hosted a "Media Run" pickup basketball game for sports journalists at this year's NBA All Star Weekend hosted by Emmy-nominated actor Mike O'Malley. The company has also strengthened its position as a leading basketball brand with official endorsements by Baron Davis of the New York Knicks and Evan Turner of the Philadelphia 76ers. Future 2012 endorsements include Olympic medal competitors Asafa Powell, Yelena Isinbayeva and Christian Taylor.

About Digital Li-Ning

Digital Li-Ning is a joint venture between Acquity Group, a leading Brand eCommerce and digital marketing company, and Li-Ning, a leading sportswear brand that inspires athletes - body, mind and spirit - and empowers them to stand apart from the ordinary. Digital Li-Ning was formed to introduce the Li-Ning brand to the U.S. market as part of Li-Ning's efforts in exploring overseas market expansion opportunities, and it is managed from Chicago. For more information, please visithttp://li-ning.com.

To view Li-Ning's U.S. product line and learn more about the brand, visithttp://shop.li-ning.com.

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