Posted by Abe Sauer on April 2, 2013 01:03 PM
Beijing's ban on fixed gear bicycles or "fixies" was dismissed on local English language blogs as an April Fool's gag. But then China's state-run media carried another report that Fujian, a southeast province outside of Shanghai, had also banned fixies. It followed numerous late March anti-fixie stories in the Chinese press.
China's brewing war on fixies, the ubiquitous accessory of US hipster culture and an increasingly popular creative outlet for free expression for China's similarly hip youth, is very real. And further actions like those in Fujian and Beijing could turn out to be a blow to a market that is just beginning to blossom.
"If the 'fixie' has no brakes, it cannot be ridden on the road and the police will punish riders according to the law," read the March 26 declaration from the Beijing Morning Post. The Post had noted that in Fujian's Zhangzhou city, a 13 year-old girl riding a fixie without brakes was recently killed in a traffic accident.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on March 29, 2013 12:38 PM
Above, Beijing t-shirt maker Plastered releases its 草泥马老板 ("Grass Mud Horse" Boss) shirt.
China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.
This week: Beckham's Adidias/Nike problem... McDonald's closes iconic location... bashing Apple... Steve Jobs manga... what your brand of car says about your sex life... Walmart... Nongfu... more infant formula scandals... Jackie Chan... Vera Wang... bye bye black Audis... and much more.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on March 4, 2013 01:13 PM
"It never hurts when people are talking about you relative to a guy whose every statement is picked up by a microphone."
That was the assessment of Brian Cupps, Brand Initiatives Director at Li-Ning, of the recent news that Dwayne Wade's new Li-Ning-inspired nickname "Way of Wade" (WoW) was called "corny" by MVP teammate LeBron James. "It's more tongue in cheek than anything," said Cupps. "It doesn't hurt."
Li-Ning's fledgling partnership with Wade has certainly not hurt either brand. Though hard numbers are yet to come, Cupps said anecdotally that "all of our indicators, be it social media or future sales, are up based on Wade." Cupps added, "Particularly in the US, where we had little to no real consumer following, we have a very strong pull right now and demand for our products because of Wade. Now we have to feed that demand."
Feeding the demand is going to be a huge challenge for Li-Ning for a number of reasons. For starters, it's a Chinese brand facing a mountain of existing consumer prejudice against China. Worse, negative China news outside of Li-Ning's control impacts this effort. Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 7, 2013 06:46 PM
As many high-end brands show off their latest designs at New York Fashion Week, Greenpeace has a big message for the fashion world at large: It's time to clean up your act.
The latest from Greenpeace’s global Detox campaign is its “Fashion Duel,” with Italian actress Valeria Golino leading the charge for the industry to make environmental stewardship a priority in their operations.
The "duel" sets out to rate 15 Italian and French high-end luxury brands on three areas of the global supply chain — leather, pulp and paper and toxic water pollution — and highlights their differences in policy on toxic water pollution and deforestation.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on January 24, 2013 01:07 PM
With the Year of the Snake dawning, Nike's zodiac cycle is complete: The approaching Chinese New Year will bring what Nike claims is a 12th version of its special edition zodiac animal-themed shoes.
In 2001, Nike had just one zodiac offering, the Air Force 1 Low 3M "Snake." In the ensuing years, some Nike zodiac shoes were better than others. (Air Max 1 Year of the Ox, anyone? Nike Dunk High pigs?). This year, with a better creature to work with, and as it had with last year's Year of the Dragon, Nike —along with its Jordan brand — has introduced a collection of serpentine shoes.
Nike isn't alone: Shelves of shoe stores in China are about to be filled with scaly offerings that would make Indiana Jones shudder. Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 18, 2012 06:01 PM
Back in October, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade parted ways with Michael Jordan after serving as a spokesman for his Nike-backed Jordan Brand for a number of years. Wade, who has plenty of fans in America, was moving on to conquer a new land: China.
Only a week later, Wade confirmed rumors by announcing that he had signed with Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning. And now Li-Ning is coming right back to Wade as it's signed a deal with the Miami Heat that will find the team's branded merchandise sold at the American Airlines arena (where the billboard above can currently be spotted) and its name and logo posted on in-arena signage as well as on the team’s website and its TV broadcasts.
"The LI-NING brand represents both style and substance and is therefore a welcome addition to the Miami Heat family of partners," said Eric Woolworth, president of The Heat Group's Business Operations, in a press release. "We're eager to help introduce Li-Ning to Heat fans everywhere and we are confident their new collection of Wade merchandise will have a very broad appeal."
Li-Ning, in the middle of a three-year overhaul, is hoping the new partnership will boost its revenue and perception. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company “will record a substantial net loss for the year … as they attempt a major turnaround.”Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on October 19, 2012 12:56 PM
China is the second latest economy in the world, every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse!); but who's got the time?! Here's a potpourri of ten reads that will make you look like a keen China observer during any conversation about China.
Above, an Apple reseller in China "thinks different" when it comes to the new iPhone 5, just as Tim Cook readies two new Apple stores. And below: China Southern dogged, Shanghai Fashion Week, a hairy marketing challenge, and more.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on October 11, 2012 10:14 AM
In China, it's been a late week whirlwind of pro basketball moves, both on and off the court. Just as news hit that NBA star Tracy McGrady had signed to play for a Chinese team — Yes, in China! — Dwayne Wade officially confirmed the rumors that he had switched sneaker affiliation from Nike to China's Li-Ning brand.
Timed to coincide with the much anticipated two games Wade's team, the Miami Heat, will play against the Los Angeles Clippers in Beijing and Shanghai this week, the Li-Ning announcement was long in the making. In fact, maybe a year in the making. Now, will Wade lead Li-Ning back to glory, and will it drag the reputations of China's brands with it?Continue reading...