In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Nike brand President Charlie Denson said on Tuesday that the company will continue to invest heavily in China. With more than 7,000 retail stores in China, Nike now plans to expand distribution to second and third-tier cities. Denson said, “We will move west.”

“I think the great thing about sports is that it doesn't matter if you live in Shanghai or Beijing or Wuhan, or wherever, I think you're still looking for the best and the most innovative products available, and that is what gives us such confidence,” he elaborated in the interview. “We will continue to grow as we move into the lower tier cities — athletes still want the same products.”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Nike's operation in China. It took the Portland-based company 26 years to make $1 billion of revenue in China, but only four years to double it at the end of the last fiscal year in May. China has become Nike's biggest market outside the United States.

Denson also said despite China's rising labor costs, the country still represents a very big part of its manufacturing strategy.

“I think when you look at the overall trade and labor markets around the world, China continues to be a very viable resource, and we continue to manufacture a lot of our products in China,” he said.