Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sponsored by Nike: The China Syndrome

Just been to Beijing and there for all to see in Wang Fu Jing shopping centre was a Nike store. Nike have been involved in China for more than 25 years, first sponsoring China's national basketball teams in 1980. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Nike sponsored 12 Chinese athletes who won gold medals. For the Beijing '08 Olympics, Nike is sponsoring 22 of the 28 Chinese federations. The establishment of flagship Beijing store is timely for Nike and comes just before the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Nike considers China, their second biggest market and have established retail outlets in more than 300 cities across the country. The new Beijing store is within walking distance of Dong Dan Park, one of the city's most popular playgrounds with multiple basketball courts and football pitches. The park is sponsored by Nike. On hand to wish the new project, good fortune was Liu Xiang, the world record-holder in the 110m hurdle. Lui Xiang is also sponsored by Nike. FIFA Player of the Year , Ronaldinho, along with two team mates from FC Barcelona, Gianluca Zambrotta and Giovani Dos Santos, popped in to raise the profile. FC Barcelona are currently on tour in Asia. Football and basketball are the two most popular sports in China. Outside the US China represents the biggest basketball market in the world. Needless to say Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are extremely popular in China. Both players are of course sponsored by Nike.

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