Domestic brands are experiencing a growth in sales following a recent uproar aimed at international retailers. H&M, Nike, Burberry and Adidas were among those to be boycotted by Chinese consumers due to their previous statements about the use of Xinjiang cotton.
Following the backlash towards Nike and Adidas, Chinese consumers have been offering more support to domestic sports brands, such as Li-Ning, Erke, Huili and Anta. Several local brands have been seizing on the opportunity to appeal to Chinese consumers’ nationalist sentiments.
On March 25, Li-Ning released a statement announcing that the brand is not a member of the Better Cotton Initiative and that Xinjiang is an important cotton supply chain for the brand. The following day it stated that one of China’s top celebrities Xiao Zhan had been made its global ambassador. As a result of these developments, Li-Ning’s stock price soared by 10.74% and 2.90% on March 25 and 26. Its market value reached HKD 128 billion.
The moves also gained considerable support on Chinese social media channels. ‘#Xiao Zhan Li-Ning global ambassador‘ gained a whopping 1.8 billion views on Weibo, while ‘#Li-Ning put Xinjiang cotton on their clothes tags‘ hit 510 million views. Following the wave of consumer nationalism, a pair of Li-Ning’s trainers increased in price 32-fold from 1500 RMB ($229) to 48,000 RMB ($7,335) on resale platform Dewu, before being removed by the app.
Influencers and celebrities have avoided wearing items from the brands embroiled in the Xinjiang cotton controversy due to concerns about the reaction of netizens. Those who didn’t immediately terminate their contracts as ambassadors with the brands involved were criticised heavily by netizens. Indeed, a number of fashion influencers on Xiaohongshu, Weibo and Douyin have been showcasing Li-Ning products in order to show off their patriotism.