Heelys, Inc. has opened its first representative office located in Qingdao, China. The new office, Heelys’ first company operation outside of the U.S., will serve multiple sourcing functions including quality control, price negotiation, logistics and product development. Additionally, the Qingdao office will allow for improved research and development, enhanced communication between Heelys and its distribution partners and maximize efficiencies giving Heelys more direct control over its sourcing. The office officially opened on Jan. 2, 2008. Heelys will host a grand opening party Jan. 24.

“The new Qingdao office marks a milestone for our company. Opening an office in China places Heelys in a position to strengthen sourcing negotiations, to take more control over the product development process and expands our global presence,” said Michael Staffaroni, president and CEO of Heelys, Inc. “Heelys has realized exponential growth in its seven years and the new operation further solidifies our continued commitment to maintaining the highest standards in developing quality youth footwear and sports apparel.”

Heelys serves more than 6,000 stores in the USA and more than 70 international markets across North America, Latin America, South America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

The new office in Qingdao will employ 13 full-time staff and will be led by Will Albers, vice president of sourcing. Albers joined Heelys on December 11, 2006, and has more than 24 years of experience in the footwear industry in sourcing, manufacturing, and product development, including more than nine years working with key partners in China, Taiwan and Korea.