May 30, 2022
Fila soars in China
May 30, 2022
Italian-born sportswear label Fila has found a new lease of life in China, where in 2021 it generated a record revenue of CHY21.82 billion (approximately $3.37 billion), according to the company's financial statement.
The rapid growth of the Chinese sportswear market and the strength of the local supply chain have enabled Fila to turn from loss-making brand into a multi-billion-revenue one.
In 2009, leading Chinese sport apparel and equipment group Anta Sports bought the Fila group's franchised brands for mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao. As a result, Fila has carved a space for itself on the Chinese market as a high-end sportswear label, winning over local athleisure consumers through its unique combination of Italian elegance and sporting know-how.
“We realised there was growing consumer demand in China for fashion and individual style,” said Li Ling, vice-president of Anta Sports.
By embracing the latest trends, much appreciated by the young generations in China, and collaborating with internationally renowned designers, Fila has made a name for itself on the Chinese market, where consumers are unlikely to identify the label with the struggling one of a dozen years ago.
According to Yao Weixiong, president of Fila Greater China, Anta Sports designers regularly travel to the Fila museum in Biella, Italy, where the label was founded and over 100,000 sketches and product samples are archived. “Our designers are inspired by Fila’s hundred-year-plus history, and they then create collections featuring the kind of style appreciated by Chinese consumers,” said Yao.
According to international market research firm Euromonitor, the Chinese sportswear market’s retail revenue has increased from CHY79 billion in 2007 to CHY371.8 billion in 2021, and the market is forecast to be worth CHY600 billion in 2026. And while Fila can further tap the booming Chinese consumer market, it can also take advantage of the country's well-established supply chain.
Anta Sports’s headquarters are located in Jinjiang, a city in eastern China’s Fujian province that is renowned as the “world’s largest manufacturing hub for trainers,” where 40% of China’s trainers output, and 20% of the whole world’s, is produced. To ensure manufacturing efficiency, Fila has set up its own production facilities in Jinjiang.
“The company will continue to expand thanks to Fujian’s solid sportswear supply chain, and will continue to collaborate with an enlarged R&D office, aiming to satisfy growing demand by Chinese consumers, whose standards of living keep on improving,” concluded Li Ling.
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