Customers at a sports goods shop take a look at a jacket in Jinjiang. (Photo/Xinhua)
Jinjiang is a county-level city under the jurisdiction of Quanzhou in southeast China's Fujian province which is home to the most sportswear brands in the country. In 2011, Jinjiang boasted GDP of 100 billion yuan (US$15.8 billion), one nineteenth of the 1.9 trillion yuan (US$302 billion) of the province's GDP.
There are six listed sportswear firms in Jinjiang. One of the leaders is ANTA, which raked in 1.73 billion yuan (US$275 million) in net profits on 8.9 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) of sales in 2011, compared with 386 million yuan of net profit and 8.93 billion yuan (US$1.42 billion) in sales by Li Ning, China's best-known domestic sports brand. ANTA became a sponsor of the Chinese Olympic Committee in 2009, which gave the brand great exposure at the London Olympic Games. The sponsorship marks a milestone in the development of the company, which was founded 20 years ago.
In 2009, the sponsorship deal between the Chinese Olympic Committee and Adidas expired. The committee sought for a new partner via public bidding, which sparked a scramble between numerous brands. After long-term negotiations, ANTA finally signed a four-year sponsorship contract with the committee in 2009.
During the London Olympics this year, ANTA and seven other sportswear brands from Jinjiang sponsored Chinese athletes.
Though the numerous sportswear brands in Jinjiang compete against each other, they also often cooperate, often making joint procurements to strengthen their price-negotiation capability and lower costs.
ANTA owns 8,000 outlets nationwide. Ding Shizhong, the company's chairman, likes to make unofficial visits to the outlets to inspect their operations.
Ding aspires to make ANTA the leading sportswear brand in China and one of the world's top 10. Nike is currently the sports brand with the highest sales in the Chinese market, boasting annual sales of US$10 billion.