Chinese sportswear brand Li-Ning courts controversy for ‘offensive’ clothing | Marketing

Chinese sportswear giant Li-Ning, widely identified for its namesake’s athlete successful 6 medals in China’s to start with Olympics in 1984, has found alone mired in controversy after accusations surfaced that items from its new selection strongly resemble the Japanese armed forces uniform during the World War II.

The collection launched on September 23 at the Li-Ning Trend Show for Tmall’s Tremendous Manufacturer Working day, but the backlash on Chinese social media took a couple weeks to produce. 

Still left: Still from Li Ning’s fashion clearly show, suitable: Japanese military hat from Globe War 2


China is a massively vital marketplace for the clothing-maker. Just about 99% of Li-Ning’s revenue will come from China, whilst only 1.1% will come from abroad. While the model is recognised for its daring sneakers and unorthodox avant-garde silhouettes, the recent collection looks to have crossed an creative boundary for Chinese netizens.

Considered individually, the oversized parkas, the bomber and the exaggerated down jackets are manufactured in fashion’s favorite wintertime colour—a timeless monochromatic army green. The issue of competition, even so, is the headgear. The round brim, structured belted crown fashion of the hat with neck and ear flaps draws crystal clear resemblance with the common Japanese armed service hat worn by Japanese troopers during the invasion of China.

On Monday, Oct 17, Li Ning’s share selling price plummeted more than 13% and suffered a 4.31% loss, a new low in just about 5 months. The fall continued on the Hang Sang Index on October 18—at the opening bell, Li-Ning’s shares fell over 3 factors in the first hour of investing. 

Most major fashion stores like H&M and Zara have a three-element course of action for vetting their items before start the critique processes for fashion giant like Li-Ning are under the scanner after the latest controversy. Incredibly, the brand’s official Weibo account still retains the picture of the controversial style and design in its grid.

But this isn’t the 1st time the organization has discovered by itself in the thick of a firestorm.

War-influenced fashion or an artist’s interpretation?

A suspected screenshot of Li-Ning’s ecommerce common manager Ye Feng has been creating rounds on WeChat. Loosely translated, it states that our collective accumulation of Chinese lifestyle and know-how is still confined. At the similar time, the information suggests, we should be watchful of preventing misinterpretations in the process of right purchaser education. In a way, the article defends Li-Ning’s design strategy that it originated from common hat helmets (笠型盔). 

Another screenshot that emerged on-line was from Li-Ning’s son, Colin Li Qilin’s Weibo submit. Without any remark, he shared photos of regular Chinese hat helmets and other military hats, in what can also be viewed as an attempt to save facial area. The submit does not surface on his Weibo account any more Campaign Asia-Pacifiare not able to independently validate the authenticity of the screenshots in circulation. 

Remaining: Screenshots from Weibo which is claimed posted by the brand’s ecommerce common manager (correct) and the son of Li Ning, the brand’s founder


Chinese netizens also blamed a person of its 3 govt administrators of Li-Ning. According to the company’s investor relations internet site, Kosaka Takeshi is the joint CEO of Li-Ning and a Japanese Chinese who has a previous Chinese title (钱炜)and worked for Uniqlo’s dad or mum firm Rapid Retailing for over two a long time in advance of becoming a member of Li-Ning in 2019. 

Past scandals

Before in March 2022, the US Customs and Border Protection detained a consignment at the port after a probe found that a North Korean worker was discovered to be working in the company’s offer chain. The organization was necessary to provide proof inside 30 times that its products was not produced with convict, pressured, or indentured labour, or it “might be matter to seizure and forfeiture”.

Prior to that in March 2021, the Chinese apparel enterprise arrived under hefty scrutiny in excess of its use of cotton from the Xinjiang area after reports of human legal rights abuses against Uighur Muslims resurfaced. However China denies all these types of abuses, Norway banned the business because of to “unacceptable chance” that it was contributing to human legal rights harms in Xinjiang, China.

Campaign Asia-Pacific has attained out to Li-Ning for remark.