To say Li-Ning can possibly be the next Nike is a bold statement, but if this Chinese based athletic company play their cards right, nothing is impossible. The company was founded in 1990 by Li Ning, a former Chinese Olympic gymnast. Li Ning remains the chairman of the company’s board of director as they make athletic shoes and sporting goods that target athletes in a variety of sports such as running, basketball, badminton, football, tennis and fitness.

In January 2010, Li Ning opened its U.S. headquarters and flagship store in Portland, Oregon (Where Nike happens to be) then in January 2011, Li Ning entered into a partnership with Chicago-based Acquity Group to expand its U.S. distribution and brand awareness. The company endorses a number of athletes and teams, both at home in China and the United States such as Baron Davis from the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76er Evan Turner. This is an effort to reach a different demographic and market that they normally can’t expose in China. It’s a smart move and there is definitely a lot of ground to make up if they intend to compete with the major U.S. brands such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok.

However, based on their progress and direction, it seems as though Li-Ning may be on the right track to a bright future. Their endorsements of NBA players to market their basketball shoes was a good move, barring the fact that the players they signed aren’t THAT popular, it’s a move to get their shoes exposed in the NBA. The designs of their shoes are intriguing and distinctly different than other shoes designed by Nike and other companies. We’ve seen a few pairs in shoe stores such as Champs and the quality is above average as well.

Li-Ning may never become a Nike, but maybe they’re not trying to be. Maybe they just want to be Li-Ning and define their own style and imprint in the world of athletic shoes. Nevertheless, they have proven to be successful and being around for over 20 years must mean they’re doing something right.

To check out their variety of shoes, click here to access their online store.


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