For the past 15-20 years everyone has been talking about getting into China. 1.5 billion people isn’t a market to ignore. Some companies have tried to go at it alone, and expand into the Asian powerhouse based on their brand and product alone. Although some have been successful, some companies — such as the NFL — have failed to create any momentum. For shoe companies it is different. Kobe Bryant is a brand name in China. Anta — a Chinese shoe company — has NBA players on its endorsement roster. Now Adidas is set to make a strong move into the market with its announcement that the company will be partnering with Dalian Wanda Group.
Dalian Wanda Group has been expanding rapidly in the world of sports and entertainment. The company has purchased sports tech consulting groups, sports media and marketing agencies, teams, events, and now is entering into a partnership with an apparel company.
The good news for Adidas is that Dalian Wanda knows and understands the Chinese market better or as well as any company. Dalian Wanda can help specifically market to Ironman, basketball, and soccer fans in China. It allows Adidas to continue to build its brand, but not focus so much on market research that it gets caught in the weeds.
Adidas will benefit from the partnership. At worst they have a partner that knows how to navigate the tricky business aspects of China, and at best they have a partner that will be effective in helping to push its products. After falling behind Nike and Under Armour, Adidas needed a big win. By partnering with Dalian Wanda, not only can they get the win but Adidas can set itself up as a market leader in the biggest market in the world.
Dalian Wanda receives another huge name brand partner in its quest for global name brand recognition. At the pace that Dalian Wanda is going, it will be no surprise to see them get more involved in the sports world moving forward. This continues a set of moves that could signify a shift in what types of companies run the sports world for years to come.