The reasons for Nike’s continued success in China are multifaceted, but a significant chunk of the brand’s popularity is thanks to its powerful marketing, led by 19-year Nike veteran Steve Tsoi.
Nike is inching ahead of the competition in China. The company in 2019 had roughly 23% of the market, ahead of global rival Adidas at just under 20%. But where Nike takes a much bigger lead is in its ability to resonate with local consumers through advertising.
A case in point was the release of Nike’s first Chinese New Year campaign in January. The ad — featuring a young woman attempting to run away from her Aunt’s efforts to give her a red envelope of money — combined cultural awareness, humour, and Nike's high production values, and was a hit with audiences.
This ability to not only respond to cultural insights but to become part of the culture itself — steered by Tsoi in partnership with his creative agencies — has now become a major differentiator for Nike in China’s saturated sports market.