What Happened: China’s Winter Olympics kicks off tomorrow (February 4), with a grand opening ceremony scheduled for 8 pm Beijing time (7 am Eastern Time). By Friday, Beijing will officially become the first city to have hosted a Summer and Winter Games (the Summer Olympics were held there in 2008).
In 2015, International Olympic Committee chose Beijing to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will take place from February 4-20 in Beijing, Yanqing, and Zhangjiakou. Amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns, China has set up a “closed-loop” system. Olympic participants and employees will only be allowed to move within three interconnected competition zone bubbles to avoid coming into contact with the general population.
The Jing Take: Although it has yet to kick off, the Games have been gaining local and international attention for months now. The reveal of its official mascot, Bing Dwen Dwen — a cute cartoon panda dressed in a spacesuit, has gone viral in China and beyond. Meanwhile, domestic athleisure brand Anta, the official sportswear partner of the Beijing Winter Olympics Game and Paralympics Winter Games, has been massively benefitting from the positive exposure. Anta will provide Chinese athletes with first-class sports equipment, and China’s uniforms feature 12 team kits for 15 events and the podium uniform called China Dragon Clothes.
After the Xinjiang cotton controversy, which tripped up international sportswear giants Nike and adidas in China, domestic names like Anta, Li-Ning and Hongxing Erke have grown in stature, thanks to netizens expressing their “national pride.” As such, these brands have been taking shares away from their global rivals. Undoubtedly, this partnership with the Beijing Winter Olympics will only further cement Anta’s appeal with local consumers.
Events like the Olympic Games significantly contribute to the rise of patriotic sentiment among domestic shoppers, so China’s “guochao” momentum should only grow as a threat to international brands in China over the coming years.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.