Brandwatch: Li Ning

What you have before you is a fresh pair of Li Nings that I saw waiting for the Queens bound 7 train at Grand Central. Li Ning, the famous Chinese Olympian (not to be confused with the 6th century Tang Dynasty prince) won 6 gold medals at the 1984 Olympics and literally flew through the air to light the torch at the ’08 games. After retiring from competitive sport, he went ahead and started himself a little sporting apparel company to outfit his fellow Chinese athletes. Well, his little company ain’t so little anymore.

Li Ning (the company) is headstrong on breaking into the footwear game from all angles. Not only do they now sponsor some choice NBA players like Shaquille O’Neil, Baron Davis, and Jose Calderon, but they also are the number 1 preferred kick of the Chinese Badminton National team (talk about diversity). Looking at the logo one can’t help be inspired by the classic Nike Swoosh, one of the most American logos of all time. For whatever its worth, I don’t think this move is just a simple coincidence…

Having already infiltrated the streets of NYC (as seen above), there’s no telling how big Li Ning could get with some time and refinement.  With over a billion potential Chinese sneakerheads right in Li Ning’s backyard, the Nikes, Adidas'(?), and Reeboks of the world better be paying close attention. Consider this your warning.


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