Chinese brands have rarely appeared among the official sponsors of the Olympics. In fact, Alibaba is the only Chinese brand that will be a global partner for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. So, they have to find different ways to gain recognition during the Olympics.
Sportswear label Anta has produced equipment and kit for 28 of the national Chinese teams attending the Tokyo Olympics, including weightlifting, swimming, wrestling, boxing, and gymnastics.
According to Sohu, Anta has invested 3 billion RMB in sports technology in the past 10 years, the most among Chinese brands. For example, the Olympic gymnastics and trampoline kit is made of 3D tailoring technology to fit the human body and reduce resistance. The shoes for weightlifters use wear-resistant fibre that can withstand more than one tonne of weight, which is 2.5 times more resistant than ordinary materials. The protective suit can prevent muscle damage caused by heavy weightlifting.
The Olympic boxer Zou Shiming praised the quality of the kit and the role it will play in helping more Chinese athletes become successful.
Wu Yonghua, CEO of Anta Group, highlighted the importance of Anta’s research and development into performance-enhancing kit. He stressed that Anta will continue to support China’s Olympic teams. He also stated that Anta will mass-produce products of Olympic quality to support the country’s sports industry.
On 25 June, Anta unveiled its “Champion’s Dragon Suit” which will be worn by athletes who win a medal and make it to the podium. Anta worked with Ye Jintian, who received an Oscar for “Best Art Design”, to design the award-winning outfit which incorporates Chinese traditional culture and design, such as a small stand-up collar and a buckle.
“The design of the award-winning outfit pays attention to and reflects the shape and beauty of the athletes, as well as the spirit of China and the image of China.”Ye Jintian
Anta’s sales have surged this year, piggybacking off the backlash towards Nike and Adidas due to their position on Xinjiang cotton. Anta’s share prices increased by 157% between 2020 and 2021, meaning that the company is coming close to surpassing Adidas’ market valuation.
Previously, Chinese athletes relied on foreign brands for their competition equipment, whereas now Anta is supplying most of China’s Olympic teams. The company’s developments in technical knowledge have enabled Anta to build high-level equipment that rivals globally renowned sports brands, such as Nike.