Li Ning will invest $10 million in its U.S. business this year and enter a joint-venture with Acquity Group LLC to expand U.S. distribution, Li Ning Chief Executive Zhang Zhiyong told the Wall Street Journal. The Chinese athletic apparel and footwear brand also plans to open warehouses this year to broaden its distribution as well as to hire 20 product developers in coming months to better meet the needs of the U.S. consumer.
The goal is to attain U.S. sales of $50 million this year, according to the report. The company said sales outside China accounted for 2% of revenue last year. Li Ning hasn't reported full-year figures but posted revenue of 4.5 billion yuan ($682.5 million) for the first half.
Acquity, a Chicago-based brand-consulting firm whose clients include General Motors Co. and the American Airlines unit of AMR Corp., is designing an ad campaign for the Chinese athletic brand. The campaign, scheduled to launch in May with TV, print and online, wil be Li Ning's largest yet for the U.S. market. Li Ning in June unveiled a new logo and global slogan, “Make the Change.”
Li Ning opened a Portland, OR, showroom early last year. Its shoes currently are sold in the U.S. through the Champs Sports and Eastbay units of Foot Locker Inc. Li Ning has endorsement deals with NBA players Shaquille O'Neal of the Boston Celtics, Evan Turner of the Philadelphia 76ers and Baron Davis of the Golden State Warriors.