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World Nike boss says firm is 'of China and for China'

09:27  25 june  2021
09:27  25 june  2021 Source:   bbc.com

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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.

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

a person standing in front of a building: Nike was recently hit by a backlash over statements about Xinjiang © Getty Images Nike was recently hit by a backlash over statements about Xinjiang

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.

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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.

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Nike has said it does not directly source cotton from the region and confirmed with its contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the area. "We could see near-term sales volatility in Greater China , the brunt of which is likely to be felt in the next 1 to 2 quarters," BTIG analyst Camilo * Nike 's fourth-quarter sales in Greater China are expected to surge about 35% to .22 billion, slower than the 50% growth in the previous quarter. * Overall, revenue is expected to grow 74.4% to .01 billion from a year ago, when the pandemic was at its peak. * The blue-chip stock is one of the worst

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.

Nike did not immediately respond to a BBC request for further comment.

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And China had spent that time working on its own response. Whether it's connected or not, the boycott draws a line. International corporations like H&M and Nike have been trying to ride two horses for some time, addressing Western concerns over human rights while making a lot of money in China . There's a lot of money at stake. China is H&M's fourth biggest market and 19% of Nike 's sales come from China . It's impossible to imagine Nike and H&M changing their positions on forced labour, both in terms of its corporate image but also its legal obligations: US sanctions ban products made in whole or in

GUANGZHOU, China — Swedish clothing retailer H&M disappeared from major Chinese shopping sites and mapping apps after resurfaced comments, reportedly from last year, about its concerns over alleged forced labor in China 's western region of Xinjiang. China has repeatedly denied allegations of forced labor and other abuses in Xinjiang. The government says that facilities there that the U.S., U.K., Canada and human rights groups have characterized as internment camps are actually vocational training centers. Asked at a press conference on Thursday if the Ministry of Commerce had ordered

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

Why was Nike boycotted in China?

Several Western brands, including Nike and Swedish fashion retailer H&M, recently faced a backlash from Chinese shoppers after the firms expressed concerns about the alleged use of Uyghur forced labour in cotton production.

In March, a group of Western countries imposed sanctions on officials in China over rights abuses against the mostly Muslim Uyghur minority group.

The sanctions were introduced as a coordinated effort by the European Union, UK, US and Canada.

In December, the BBC published an investigation based on new research showing China was forcing hundreds of thousands of minorities including Uyghurs into manual labour in Xinjiang's cotton fields.

What is Xinjiang and who are the Uyghurs?

  • Xinjiang, China's biggest region, produces about a fifth of the world's cotton. An autonomous region in theory, in reality it faces restrictions which have only increased in recent years
  • Millions of China's Uyghurs, a Muslim minority that sees itself as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations, live in Xinjiang
  • In recent decades, mass migration of Han Chinese (China's ethnic majority) to Xinjiang has fuelled tensions with Uyghurs which has at points flared into deadly violence
  • This has resulted in a massive security crackdown and an extensive state surveillance programme, which critics say violate Uyghur human rights. China says such measures are necessary to combat separatism and terrorism
  • Uyghurs have been detained at camps where allegations of torture, forced labour and sexual abuse have emerged. China has denied these claims saying the camps are "re-education" facilities aimed at lifting Uyghurs out of poverty

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