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Li-Ning Company Limited
Traded as SEHK2331
Industry Sportswear and Sports Equipment
Founded 1990; 26 years ago (1990)
Headquarters Beijing, China
Area served
Key people
Li Ning, Founder and Chairman, Terence Tsang, Chief Financial Officer
Products Athletic shoes, apparel, sports equipment, accessories
Revenue Decrease US$1.11 billion (FY 2012)[1]
Decrease US$318.8 million (FY 2012)[1]
Li-Ning store in Huaihua, Hunan

Li-Ning Company Limited (Chinese: 李宁有限公司; Li-Níng Yǒuxiàn Gōngsī) (SEHK2331) is a Chinese company which makes athletic shoes and sporting goods. Li-Ning branded products target consumers who participate in sports such as running, basketball, badminton, football, tennis, and fitness. The company endorses a number of athletes and teams, both in China and around the world.


The company was founded in 1990 by Li Ning, a former Chinese Olympic gymnast. As of 2015, Li Ning remains the Chairman of the company's Board of Directors.[2] In 2005, Li-Ning created a joint-venture with French sports apparel company, AIGLE, giving Li-Ning the exclusive right to be the sole distributor of AIGLE's products in China for 50 years.[3] In 2006, Li-Ning posted revenues of US$418 million, and total profits of about US$39 million. As of March 2007, there were 4,297 Li-Ning retail stores.[4] The company directly owns some of the retail stores while others are franchised.

In January 2010, Li-Ning opened its U.S. headquarters and flagship store in Portland, Oregon. In 2010, Li-Ning released a new logo and a new slogan as part of the 'Revitalization' of the brand. The official slogan of the company is "让改变发生" "Ràng Gǎibiàn Fāshēng" in Chinese, translated to "Make The Change" in English. In January 2011, Li-Ning entered into a partnership with Chicago-based Acquity Group[5] to expand its U.S. distribution and brand awareness.

In April 2012, Li-Ning was awarded the highest distinction of "Outstanding Contribution to Quality Standardization Award" in knitwear division at the Third National Textile Standardization Technical Committee's inaugural meeting held in Zhuhai, Guangdong. In September 2012, Li-Ning signed into a partnership with NBA player Dwyane Wade. In 2013, The Group recorded revenue of RMB2,906 million, which represents a decrease of 24.6% year-on-year, due to near-term focus on sell-in reductions, inventory clearance as well as store rationalization.[6]


Li-Ning produces shoes and sportswear, largely for the Chinese market. The company has seen explosive growth in shoe sales in the past several years. Li-Ning's major shoe lines include the "Flying Armor" series of basketball shoes and "Flying Feather" running shoes. According to the company's website, their hallmark product is the "Li-Ning Bow."[4]

The company also has a smaller sports marketing and branding operation.[7]

In March 2006, The Li-Ning 001 Limited Edition shoe was available. This is the first time a Chinese sports brand made a limited edition sneaker for sale.


The company has aggressively used sponsorship deals, particularly with athletes and sports teams, both in China and abroad, to raise its profile.[8]

In 2006, the company entered strategic collaborations with the National Basketball Association, the Association of Tennis Professionals, the Chinese University Basketball Association, and the Chinese Football Association. It also signed sponsorship deals with the Chinese national teams and the Sudan track and field team. The company will also provide apparel for the Argentina national basketball team at international events including the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. A similar deal was made with the Swedish Olympic Committee.[4]

Since 2004, both the Spanish men's and women's national basketball teams have been equipped by Li-Ning.[9]

2008 Beijing Olympics[edit]

Li-Ning aggressively sought sponsorship opportunities related to the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China. The company arranged to outfit every presenter for broadcaster CCTV-5, the sports channel of the Chinese Central Television.[10]

In a now famous case of guerilla marketing, when entire countries were tuned to the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, millions saw Li Ning light the torch. They also learned of the Chinese sports goods company that is named after him, but the company is not an official Olympic sponsor.[11] At the Beijing Olympics, Li-Ning sponsored the Chinese national teams of Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Archery, and Diving. It also sponsored the Spanish basketball team, as well as the Argentine and Swedish Olympics teams. The company's share price increased by over 3% on the first day of trading after the opening ceremony.[12]

National Basketball Association[edit]

Li-Ning was an official marketing partner of the National Basketball Association and has/had sponsorship deals with nine players: Baron Davis (currently out of the league), Shaquille O'Neal (retired), Damon Jones (currently out of the league), José Calderón of the New York Knicks, Cleanthony Early of the New York Knicks, Glenn Robinson III of the Indiana Pacers, Evan Turner of the Boston Celtics, and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat[4]

In 2006, O'Neal signed a four-year deal with Li-Ning, reportedly worth US$1.25 million, the largest deal made by the company, and the highest profile signing of an American sports star by a Chinese company.[13] O'Neal cited former teammate Damon Jones and the Spanish national basketball team's deal with Li-Ning as influences on his decision to sign with Li-Ning.[14][15]

In 2012, Dwyane Wade left the Jordan Brand for Li-Ning.


Environmental Practices[edit]

In July 2011, Li-Ning - along with other major sportswear and fashion brands including Nike, Adidas and Abercrombie & Fitch - was the subject of a report by the environmental group Greenpeace entitled 'Dirty Laundry'. Li-Ning, along with Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Bauer Hockey, Calvin Klein, Converse, Cortefiel, H&M, Lacoste, Nike, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation (PVH Corp) and Puma, were accused of working with suppliers in China who, according to the findings of the report, contribute to the pollution of the Yangtze and Pearl Rivers.[16] Samples taken from one facility belonging to the Youngor Group located on the Yangtze River Delta and another belonging to the Well Dyeing Factory Ltd. located on a tributary of the Pearl River Delta revealed the presence of hazardous and persistent hormone disruptor chemicals, including alkylphenols, perfluorinated compounds and perfluorooctane sulfonate.


  1. ^ a b "Li Ning Scaling Back After 2012 Loss". Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Executive Directors". LI Ning. 2010-06-02. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  3. ^ "Welcome to Li-Ning Company Limited". 2011-04-30. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Press Releases". Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  5. ^ Burkitt, Laurie (2011-01-19). "Chinese Sports-Apparel Maker Li-Ning Makes Push in the U.S. -". Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  6. ^ "Li Ning Company Reports Interim Results for 2013". Retrieved 23 July 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  7. ^ "Business Overview". Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  8. ^ Cheng, Allen T. (2002-07-29). "The Mainland's Sneaker King". TIME. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Leibenluft, Jacob (July 25, 2007). "Female Weightlifters, Spanish Basketball Stars, and Kim Jong-il: The strange world of Chinese sneaker endorsements". Slate. 
  11. ^ "The Greatest Free Ad Ever : 2008 Summer Olympics blog : Rocky Mountain News". 2008-08-09. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  12. ^ Liu, Melinda (August 12, 2008). "Light My Fire: Li Ning's Stock Rises". Newsweek. 
  13. ^ "People's Daily Online - O'Neal the real deal as Li-Ning goes global". 2006-08-15. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  14. ^ "Shaq signs shoe deal with Chinese company Li-Ning - NBA - ESPN". 2006-08-15. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  15. ^ "Shaq signs with China-based apparel company - NBA- NBC Sports". MSNBC. 2006-08-15. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  16. ^ "Dirty Laundry: the toxic secret behind global textile brands" (PDF). Greenpeace. 

External links[edit]