Nike Chief Executive John Donahoe says his branding mission is all about Beijing.
The footwear giant behind the iconic “Just Do It” marketing campaign says it is “of China and for China” for the foreseeable future.
“Nike is a brand that is of China and for China,” Mr. Donahoe told Wall Street analysts this week. “We’ve always taken a long-term view. We’ve been in China for over 40 years.”
The company, famous for its roots in Oregon and popularity with distance runners, netted $1.9 billion in fourth-quarter revenue from China, the BBC reported Thursday.
“Phil [Knight] invested significant time and energy in China in the early days and today we’re the largest sport brand there,” Mr. Donahoe said.
Mr. Donahoe’s comments appear to be a rhetorical salve to ease Chinese outrage over the company’s questioning of labor standards in the communist country.
“We are concerned about reports of forced labor in, and connected to, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR),” the company said in a statement this year. “Nike does not source products from the XUAR and we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region.”
Angry users of the Chinese social media platform Weibo dominated trending feeds, and “popular Chinese actor Wang Yibo terminated his contract as a representative for Nike,” CNBC reported in late March.