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adidas and Wanda Group Agree on Future Strategic Collaboration

Sports giants deepen commercial ties and agree to cooperate on developing IRONMAN, football and basketball in China and worldwide

adidas Group Meeting Wanda
June 28, 2016

adidas Group CEO Herbert Hainer and adidas Group MD for Greater China Colin Currie met in Beijing yesterday with Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin and Beijing Wanda Cultural Investment Group President Lincoln Zhang to discuss the prospect of a future strategic collaboration. Key agreements were reached that will see adidas sponsor two of Wanda’s IRONMAN events in China, as well as work with the Chinese conglomerate to help develop football and basketball at all levels. adidas and Wanda also agreed to deepen their commercial relationship, with Wanda expressing strong support for adidas’ plans to open Sportswear Collective and other large-format stores throughout Wanda’s extensive portfolio of shopping malls and other commercial properties.

“China is one of the most important markets for adidas globally. We have strengthened our position in China considerably in recent years as we have successfully leveraged our substantial global expertise in sport,” said adidas Group CEO Herbert Hainer.

We are now looking forward to working with Wanda Group, one of China’s largest and most respected companies as well as a powerful name in the world of sport, to realize our shared vision to develop sport in China and throughout the world.

Herbert Hainer, adidas Group CEO

Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin meanwhile said: “Both Wanda and adidas share a number of common goals, both in a commercial sense and in our genuine desire to nurture sport not only in China but around the world. I look forward to working together closely with adidas over the next few years in pursuit of this aim.” 

Support for IRONMAN as well as football and basketball development

Later this year, the cities of Hefei and Xiamen will play host to two major IRONMAN events, both of which have become important fixtures for Wanda since its acquisition of the world-famous IRONMAN brand along with its parent company, the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), in August 2015. During yesterday’s meeting, adidas and Wanda agreed on a strategic partnership which will see adidas become the events’ sole sports brand sponsor.

adidas and Wanda also agreed to work together to support the development of football and basketball, both in China and worldwide.  

With football being one of five main growth drivers for adidas in China according to the brand’s Creating the New 2020 strategy, adidas is keen to build upon its status as China’s no.1 football brand, in particular through the development of crucial relations with local Chinese teams. Wanda meanwhile, with a reputation as one of Chinese football’s earliest pioneers and its status as a fellow official FIFA sponsor, is keen to extend its influence internationally. 

Following Wanda’s announcement on June 16 of having signed a long-term partnership between its Infront Sports and Media subsidiary and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), adidas and Wanda also agreed to work together to further develop basketball in China. 

Major and lower-tier city expansion 

Another outcome of the meeting was the agreement of a strategic partnership between adidas and Wanda to realize their shared goal of further commercial expansion throughout major and lower-tier cities in China, an important pillar of adidas’ recently launched five-year strategy, Creating the New 2020 Greater China.

adidas China set to expand football grassroots programs, strives to reach 20 million kids in China

At the same time, adidas China announced today that it will further expand its grassroots activities in China. Through its three-year partnership with the Ministry of Education (MOE) which was launched in 2015, adidas China aims to reach some 20 million students in 20,000 primary and middle schools across the country. The company’s goal is to inspire lifelong physical activity and involvement in football. Long-time adidas ambassador David Beckham was on site in Guangzhou today to play with 30 students from Houleyuan Street Primary School.

David Beckham opens world’s first adidas football store in Guangzhou

Yesterday, David Beckham was already on hand to open adidas’ first football store globally in Teemall, Guangzhou. This makes China a pioneer in retail and marks an important milestone of the adidas #FirstNeverFollows football activity this summer.

The store opening is a major milestone for adidas and for football in China.


“Opening the world’s first adidas football store in Guangzhou says a great deal about the maturity of the sport in China. This is a huge step forward – it not only showcases our market expansion, it highlights our determination and commitment to the development of football in China. In addition, we also want to engage with a new generation of Chinese football lovers and future stars through our grassroots initiatives. We are the undisputed leaders in football and – as part of our strategy Creating the New - will build on that strength and drive our business to even greater heights,”said Colin Currie, Managing Director adidas Group China.