Thursday, August 21, 2008

Anything is possible

It was in front of 4 billion viewers that Li Ning pulled off the coup of the Beijing Olympics. As we thrilled at the sight of Li Ning, China's former Olympic champion gymnast, gracefully circling the roof of the Bird's Nest stadium and lighting the Olympic flame few recognised he was wearing trainers made by his own company. Li became one of China's most famous athletes after taking three gold medals, two silvers and a bronze at the 1984 Los Angeles games. Li Ning established his own sportswear company in 1990 and manufactures his own footwear, emblazoned with a V-shaped stroke which looks remarkably similar to Nike’s swoosh. The Hong Kong-listed Li Ning Co., is China's largest footwear and apparel company and dominated the China's sportswear market until recently. Neither Nike or adidas executives were too pleased with the hijack marketing photo opportunity which has resulted in a 6% rise in Li Ning Co’s., share price on the Shanghai stock market. Behind the scenes it appears the authorities turned a blind eye after Li Ning agreed to drop his bid to get newscasters from the China Central Television's sports channel to wear his clothes during the games. The Li Ning Co., sponsore the Spanish national team as well as the Chinese gymnastics, shooting, table tennis and diving teams. The motto of the Li Ning Company Ltd is “Anything Is Possible.”

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