China's energy and speed vital for Adidas, says CEO
BERLIN, June 20 (Xinhua) -- China remains one of the most important markets for sportswear manufacturer Adidas, said Bjorn Gulden, the company's CEO and Global Brands chief.
The 58-year-old expects China to continue its development over recent years, adding that China might be the most important market in the future, Gulden told Xinhua while attending the 2023 Special Olympics in Berlin.
The Norwegian announced increasing production numbers in a Chinese market that is increasingly relying on "local for local".
Adidas will boost its Shanghai design departments "as we see the Chinese inspiration becoming more and more important for products made in China".
The executive is planning two visits to China this year to get an overview of the company's suppliers and design centers, and said the company is on its way to significantly increase its investment in China.
China is going to enjoy a strong economy in the future, looking at people's energy and the development speed of the entire country, said Gulden.
"I started to travel to China in the 1990s and when I see where China is today, you can only take your hat off and say: wow, impressed."
Discussing the notion of some nations "derisking" or "decoupling" from China's market, Gulden said he hopes sports can build bridges despite political tensions around the world, adding that sports shouldn't be part of political strategy.
The manager emphasized the positive development in China and called his company's engagement and collaboration efforts a long-term project.
Interest in China is increasing when it comes to sports and sports fashion, and Adidas hopes to benefit from what he called China's rapidly growing influence when it comes to design.
The company's total revenues in Greater China declined 9 percent in the first quarter of 2023, while the sell-out of the company's products increased year-over-year, as reflected in double-digit growth across Adidas' own retail stores.
After decreasing revenue figures in 2022, Adidas announced a turnaround in its design strategy, starting with the launch of a red tracksuit with China's name written in Chinese characters.
China's rising tennis star Wu Yibing is one of the new arrivals in the company's sportsmen partner program, as Adidas is increasing collaboration with many Chinese professionals and young talents.