PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Torch Relay for the Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games commenced in Donghae City, Gangwon Province of South Korea today. Mr. Ding Shizhong, the Board Chairman and CEO of ANTA Sports, and Mr. James Zheng, Executive Director at ANTA Sports and Brand President of ANTA, were invited by Mr. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, to join the Olympic Torch Relay as distinguished representatives of a Chinese sportswear brand. It is Mr. Ding's second Olympic Torch Relay after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when he upheld the "Lucky Cloud" touch. In 2008 and 2018, although there were two torch relay events, there is now a different sense of mission. This time, ANTA Sports is participating as a representative of a rising China and a leading Chinese brand that stands at the center of the world-class stage.
The transformation of the Chinese sports market in the past 10 years: Over the past 10 years, China's sportswear market has grown rapidly, with the country's vision of becoming a sports superpower gradually coming into reach as various mass sports became more and more popular. Consumption upgrade, retail channel transformation, the rise of internet and the advancement of technology have dramatically changed the sportswear industry and have provided huge development opportunities. By 2025, the scale of the market is expected to reach RMB 5 trillion. ANTA Sports has transformed from a "branding wholesale" model to a "branding retail" model, and has also upgraded its "Multi-Brand and Omni-Channel" strategy to version 4.0. Over the past 10 years, ANTA Sports' revenue has exceeded RMB 10 billion, while the Group has grown into a leading brand in the Chinese market. It has grown from being a private enterprise into an internationally competitive sportswear group with a modern corporate governance system, and is recognized by the general public as one of China's "Super Brands". In January 2018, ANTA Sports' market capitalization exceeded HKD 100 billion, which ranks third in the industry globally. This number has increased five times compared with 10 years ago.
Over the past 10 years there has been a closer relationship between China's Sports and the Chinese Brand: In its nine-year partnership between 2009 and 2016, ANTA worked with the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) on the two preparation cycles for the London Olympics and Rio de Janeiro Olympics . ANTA Sports sponsored 24 of the China Sports Delegation (CSD) teams. In cooperation with several sports centers in China, ANTA Sports established an integrated cooperation system with China's national teams, China's Sports Management Centers and the COC to provide high-end sports equipment with cutting-edge technologies that abide by international standards. In 2017, ANTA Sports once again joined hands with the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee to launch the Group's "Winter Sports Strategy", in which ANTA will contribute its professional experience to promote winter sports among 300 million people so that the Group can form the most solid partnership with China's sports.
The Chinese brand on the international stage over the past decade: ANTA has shifted its development strategy from a China-focused strategy to one with global prospects, with the Chinese brand pushing ahead to establish an international platform. The strategy is not only limited to market internationalization, but to creating integrated resources globally. For example, the Group has established design centers in the United States, Japan and South Korea, and today, ANTA's overseas employees make up more than 25% of the the Group's executives as a whole. On ANTA's globalization strategy, Mr. Ding recently said, "We have been talking about globalization for a while, and we are going to achieve that in 2018 by establishing a strategic layout for globalization."
Another decade of innovation after the Olympic Torch Relay: The commencement of the Torch Relay for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games coincides with ANTA Group's annual ceremony, where Mr. Ding called for a new initiative called "A New Decade for ANTA Group" to promote ANTA's globalization and encourage wide-ranging efforts towards the multi-brand strategy to achieve the Group's 100 billion sales target by 2025. This represents a second venture that will ultimately see the Group become a world-leading sportswear company.
Mr. Ding said during the Olympic Torch Relay for Pyeongchang, "I was also a torch bearer at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. It was a pity that the Chinese national team was not wearing a Chinese brand and that ANTA was not capable of forming a partnership with the Olympic Games at the Beijing Olympics. However, last year, we signed a contract with the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee to realize our ambition for the Chinese national team, by the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, to wear ANTA's best apparel and represent China on the international stage. This is our duty and mission as a Chinese brand."