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Chinese Sportswear Giant Li Ning Sees Revenue Rise 56.1% in 2021

Chinese superstar Xiao Zhan in a campaign image for Li Ning.
Chinese superstar Xiao Zhan appears in a campaign for Li Ning. (Li Ning)

The brand reported 2021 revenue of 22.57 billion yuan ($3.55 billion) and gross profit of 11.97 billion yuan.

The company’s operating cash flow also rose 136 percent year-on-year to 6.53 billion yuan, boosted by improved inventory, accelerated growth in offline retail and increased revenue from distribution channels.

Li Ning, the brand’s executive chairman and co-chief executive, said the Li Ning brand would continue to pursue a “single brand, multi-category, multi-channel” strategy.

By the end of last year, the number of physical stores (excluding Li Ning Young) in China totalled 5,935, a net increase of 23 from January 2021.

Li Ning’s growth has been fuelled by a growing preference among Chinese consumers for local brands, especially in the sportswear category, where local players have upped their quality and design at the same time as global brands have been criticised in China for refusing to source cotton from the country’s Xinjiang region, allegedly the site of widespread forced labour practices.

But the company is also facing new challenges. This week, US Customs seized its goods alleged using forced labour in North Korea. The company responded to the seizure with a statement that denied the allegation, describing the claim as false and misleading.

Learn more:

Li Ning Goods Held at US Ports After North Korean Labour Allegation

An unspecified quantity of sportswear stock was held on March 14 after US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it had evidence the Chinese sportswear manufacturer had used materials manufactured by potentially forced North Korean labour.

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