Nike chief executive says firm is ‘of China and for China’

A man walks past a store of the sporting goods retailer Nike Inc at a shopping complex in Beijing.
Nike was recently hit by a backlash over statements about Xinjiang

The boss of Nike has made a robust defence of the firm’s business in China after facing a consumer boycott there.

Chief executive John Donahoe said “Nike is a brand that is of China and for China” in response to a question about competition from Chinese brands.

Mr Donahoe was speaking during a call with Wall Street analysts about Nike’s latest earnings report.

The comments come after the sportswear giant was recently hit by a backlash over statements about Xinjiang.

Mr Donahoe made the comments during a discussion on Nike’s fourth quarter earnings, which showed revenues had doubled to a better-than-expected $12.3bn (£8.8bn) for the three months to the end of March.

That helped it bounce back to a $1.5bn profit, from a $790m loss during the depths of the pandemic a year earlier.

The figures also showed that revenue in China rose to more than $1.9bn, but missed Wall Street expectations of $2.2bn.

Mr Donahoe said he remained confident that China would continue to be a fast-growing market for the company due to its many years of investment there.

“We’ve always taken a long term view. We’ve been in China for over 40 years,” he said.

“Phil [Knight] invested significant time and energy in China in the early days and today we’re the largest sport brand there,” he said in reference to Nike’s co-founder and former chief executive who first saw the potential for growth in the country.

The company’s shares rose by more than 14% during after-hours trade in New York.

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