Is Youngor the next Anta?

Pundits have started to question whether the quickly expanding Norwegian outdoor brand Helly Hansen is the next Arc’teryx in China. Naturally, the group behind Helly Hansen’s China expansion, Youngor, is now being compared to Anta, the largest shareholder of Arc’teryx’s parent company Amer Sports.

On Christmas Day 2023, Youngor Group Co Ltd announced its name change to Youngor Fashion Co Ltd. Youngor states that the change was to reflect the group’s renewed ambition to become a leading force in fashion globally. Founded in 1993, Youngor has been working in fashion, real estate and investment simultaneously. The company, especially its founder and chairman Li Rucheng, has been criticised for neglecting its “proper business” in fashion and making millions through stock market and real estate investment. The name change signals the company’s return to its roots.

The brand has invested in international brands such as designer brand Alexander Wang, street fashion and lifestyle label UNDEFEATED, as well as Helly Hansen. Opening shops in Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wuhan and Zhengzhou, and hosting a pop-up store in Beijing, Alexander Wang has been rapidly expanding in 2023. Helly Hansen, on the other hand, has just opened a new store in Ningbo, the 23rd city it has entered in China since relaunching in the country in 2021.

The strategy comes as Youngor attempts to diversify its fashion business. With 3.94 billion RMB (547.93 million USD) in revenue from the first 9 months of 2023, the main Youngor brand contributed 93.53% of the 4.22 billion RMB (586.87 million USD) revenue of the group’s fashion earnings. As for Anta, from the 29.55 billion RMB (4.11 billion USD) revenue in H1 2023, Anta and Fila contributed 47.8% and 41.3%, respectively.

For Youngor to become the next Anta, how they build newer brands under the umbrella is paramount, as fatigue towards the Youngor main brand begins to show. By acquiring stakes and establishing joint ventures with international brands, Younger will be able to take less risk while incubating the brands’ growth in China. How Younger develops its brand matrix around the main brand is the key to diversifying its fashion business.


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