The U.S. expansion began in earnest in 2007 with the opening of a R&D center and design studio in the Portland, Oregon, area, heart of the U.S. nike barefoot running shoes
athletic shoe industry where Nike is headquartered and Adidas has a regional office.
Li-Ning's U.S. staff includes about 30 people, veterans of companies like Nike, Adidas, Converse and Columbia. In comparison, more than 6,000 work at Nike's headquarters just outside town.
Products sold in the U.S. include equipment and apparel for Asian-dominated sports like pingpong and badminton, niche areas where Li-Ning is an established leader.nike running shoes for men
Its running shoes have debuted in specialty shops, with the aim of attracting avid runners who are concerned more about performance than brand name.
But it's with street culture-influenced basketball shoes that Li-Ning may be able to score its breakthrough. Endorsement deals with NBA players like Shaquille O'Neal, nike shox running shoes
Baron Davis and Evan Turner have so far been key to building awareness among image-conscious consumers.
Li-Ning has a quality product but "we need to bring in the cool factor, the street legitimacy, the street cred. Bring all these elements together and fuse them into the product. It's a systemic project and we are working on it," Li said.
That's the thinking behind the
YouTube video, featuring a Chinese Li-Ning import agent who has to convince two suspicious U.S. customs officials that the new F2 sneaker is a real shoe. It is a humorous take on real events involving a shipment of F2s that got stuck in U.S. customs because of questions over how to declare the components of a shoe made almost entirely of rubber-like foam material.
nike trail running shoes Americans might remember Li Ning (pronounced lee-NING) as the final torchbearer during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics - the former gymnastics gold medalist who "ran" along the opening in the stadium roof while suspended by wires.
His namesake company is a top domestic brand in China's lucrative athletic shoe and apparel industry, with more than 7,900 stores across the country. Though it has forecast slumping sales and a one percentage point decline in gross profit margin in 2011, CEO Zhang Zhiyong recently told the Wall Street Journal that Li-Ning plans to invest $10 million in U.S. operations this year.
"Our founder Mr. Li Ning has always said his vision was never about building China's Nike, it's about building the world's Li-Ning," Li said. "You can't be global without having a legitimate claim of market share in the most mature sporting goods market."
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