Chinese Anta Sports aims to rival Adidas and Nike

A low-cost manufacturer for global brands when it was founded in a Chinese backwater three decades ago, Anta Sports aims to rival Adidas and Nike with a planned €5.6 billion takeover of Finland’s Amer Sports. The company, which is China’s largest sportswear brand and is leading a consortium of bidders, says it is confident the deal will close this week as scheduled. It will give Anta a 58 per cent stake in Amer and ownership of brands including Wilson tennis rackets, Atomic skis and Louisville Slugger baseball bats… Sports apparel sales in China have doubled in the past five years… and trail only the US, enabling China brands to build economies of scale and cash reserves for deals… Anta is one of dozens of sportswear companies known as the “Fujian tigers” that emerged in mountainous areas of the southeastern province in the 1980s. They started out stitching shoes for the likes of Nike and Adidas, then found success with their own brands in smaller Chinese cities. But they were often dismissed as imitations of western brands. The company grew out of a shoe workshop run by farmer Ding Hemu, and is still majority-owned by his sons Ding Shizhong and Ding Shijia, whose holdings in Anta have given them fortunes of $16.5 billion and $16 billion respectively, according to the Hurun China rich list.
Tom Hancock