Li-Ning & its partner, the Acquity Group, announced on Monday, December 19, that its new e commerce site, Digital Li-Ning (www.li-ning.com) was live. The Li-Ning brand, which has produced performance footwear and apparel in China (number three brand behind Nike and adidas), for twenty-two years, is focusing on a digital launch as it showcases its running, basketball and fitness footwear and apparel to the American market.
This is not the first attempt by Li-Ning in the United States. But, it seems, to be the most focused and directed. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted Li-Ning's recent battles for market share in China with Nike and adidas. 2011 has been a difficult year for Li-Ning in China, as profit dropped by half as both Nike and adidas pushed on the Chinese brand. The article also noted that many keen observers of the footwear business think that Digital Li-Ning, a partnership between Li-Ning & the Acquity Group, a U.S. based digital firm, may be the best of both worlds.
Like many of the top brands, Li-Ning has sponsored athletes. Early in the game, Li-Ning sponsored Shaquille O'Neal, Evan Turner and Baron Davis in basketball, and WR holder Yelena Isinbeyeva (pole vault), Asafa Powell (76 times under ten seconds in the 100 meters), Andreas Thorkildsen ( javelin world champion, currently second in world) and Christian Taylor (gold medalist, Triple Jump) in the sport of track & field.
From the pages of Financial Times to the pages of Wall Street Journal, Chinese businesses are told that they will be out-marketed, out-designed and out-spent as they venture outside of the Mainland. The fact remains that, it is only a matter of time before a Chinese brand gets bloodied, re-evaluates and evolves itself into a global brand.
Digital Li-Ning wants to be that brand.
CHICAGO and BEIJING , Dec. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Digital Li-Ning, the joint venture between Li-Ning Company and Acquity Group, today announced the launch of its Brand eCommerce™ business, which brings the Li-Ning sportswear brand to U.S. consumers.
In the United States , Digital Li-Ning (www.li-ning.com) will showcase the Li-Ning brand across three core categories - basketball, women's fitness and running, allowing it to reach a broad demographic group of sports and wellness enthusiasts.
Founded in 1989 by Mr. Li Ning , a world-renowned gymnast who won six medals (three gold, two silver, one bronze) in the 1984 Olympic Games, the company has grown to become a publicly traded, premier sports entity with more than 8,000 retail stores. Digital Li-Ning represents part of the company's efforts in exploring and learning the U.S. market via Brand eCommerce.
"We believe many Americans will be attracted to Li-Ning's fresh and unique perspective on the connection of mind, body and spirit in fitness and sports," said Ray Grady , General Manager of Digital Li-Ning. "We're very excited by our unique go-to-market approach and our relationship with Acquity Group, which together will serve as the foundation for a successful U.S. launch."
"We are proud to be the U.S. partner that introduces Li-Ning to American consumers through our powerful Brand eCommerce platform," said George Lu , Chairman of Acquity Group. "Li-Ning is an iconic brand, and we are committed to its success in the U.S. market and the opportunities it will create here. In fact, Acquity Group added 200 jobs in the U.S. in 2011, and we expect that the introduction of the Li-Ning brand will accelerate our hiring in the U.S. for 2012 and beyond. We're certain that the success of Digital Li-Ning will serve as the bellwether to encourage more global brands to invest in the United States ."
"Digital Li-Ning is well positioned to launch the leading Li-Ning brand in the United States ," said Craig Heisner , head of marketing for Digital Li-Ning. "Our experience and understanding of the American consumer underscore why the status quo is no longer an option in sportswear. The arrival of Digital Li-Ning is well-timed and our three categories should experience an attractive level of growth."
American athletes and consumers can purchase Li-Ning sportswear by visiting Digital Li-Ning at www.li-ning.com. Digital Li-Ning can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LiNingUSA and on Twitter at @Li_Ning_USA.
About Digital Li-Ning
Digital Li-Ning is a joint venture between Acquity Group, a leading Brand eCommerce and digital marketing company, and Li-Ning, a leading sportswear brand that inspires athletes--body, mind and spirit--and empowers them to stand apart from the ordinary. Digital Li-Ning was formed to introduce the Li-Ning brand to the U.S. market as part of Li-Ning's efforts in exploring overseas market expansion opportunities, and it is managed from Chicago . For more information, please visit www.li-ning.com.
About Acquity Group
Acquity Group is a leading global Brand eCommerce and digital marketing company, creating award-winning digital experiences for global brands. Our multi-disciplinary approach brings together strategy, design, and technology to create brand-unique experiences that build firm customer relationships. Acquity Group works with leading brands like Adobe, AT&T, General Motors, Motorola, and Saks Fifth Avenue through offices in North America and Asia . To define a unique perspective for your business, contact Acquity Group at http://www.acquitygroup.com.
Li-Ning is a leading sportswear brand that inspires athletes--body, mind and spirit--to make positive changes and stand apart from the ordinary. Founded by an Olympic gold medalist, Li-Ning brings a fresh, new perspective to sports and fitness by offering products designed with passion, wisdom and innovation. As part of Li-Ning's U.S. expansion, the company has entered into a joint venture with Acquity Group, a leading Brand eCommerce and digital marketing company, to create Digital Li-Ning (www.li-ning.com), which will introduce the Li-Ning brand to the U.S.