China's 361 will make uniforms for Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Updated: 2014-10-25 22:41
By JI YE in Rio de Janeiro(China Daily)
(From left to right) Carlos Arthur Nuzman, Rio 2016 Committee president, former Brazilian volleyball player Giba, and 361 CEO Ding Wuhao at the launching ceremony. [Photo provided by Rio 2016]
Chinese sportswear company 361 has become an official supporter of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and will provide more than 100,000 uniforms for the event.
The launching of the sponsorship on Oct 18 makes 361 the first Chinese sports brand to announce sponsorship of the Rio Games, and it is the first time 361 is supporting both the Olympic and Paralympic games.
It also marks the company's expansion into the Brazilian and Latin American markets. Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported that 361 plans to initially invest almost $15 million in Brazil.
The money will be spent on 10 representative offices and a new storage center in Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil, according to the report, and the company will start by offering 150 types of sports apparel in Brazil.
For the 2016 Rio Games, the company will make more than 106,500 uniforms for technical staff, volunteers, test-event personnel and torch-relay participants, according to a statement on the Rio 2016 website. The uniforms' design will be approved in December, and production will star by May 2015. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
To become a sponsor and supporter of the Rio 2016 Games, the company's production standards were evaluated by the Rio 2016 approximately one year ago. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
At a ceremony announcing its sponsorship of the Rio games, Rio 2016 volunteers modeled the 361 uniforms for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
"With the responsibility of supplying uniforms to the volunteers and staff, which are extremely important groups for us and for the staging of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we are confident that 361 will do a great job in our challenge of delivering excellent and memorable games," Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman said during the ceremony.
CEO Ding Wuhao said the sponsorship of the Games is a "milestone" for 361, founded in 2003. "Our group has long been seeking a partnership and there couldn't be a better time to achieve this goal," Ding said.
The company has sponsored other major sporting events, including the Guangzhou 2010 and Incheon 2014 Asian Games and the Nanjing 2014 Youth
Olympic Games. So far, 361 has sponsored six international events, nine Chinese sporting events, 28 delegations and seven national teams in China, as well as other organizations in Asia and Africa. It also provides support for Olympic medalists like Chinese swimmer Sun Yang.
Available in Brazil since May 2014 at major sporting stores, the brand 361 is to some extent unknown to the Brazilian public. Sponsorship the Olympic Games will initiate a series of campaigns on themes related to the event to develop the brand's market share in the Brazilian market, the company said.
Sergio Baka Luo, 361's general manager for Brazil, said the company is also planning to have garment factories in Latin America to serve the market.
"Brazilian people love sports and sports products have a promising future. Rio de Janeiro will host the Olympic Games in 2016, therefore 361 chooses Brazil as its strategic target," said Baka Luo.
With headquarters in Jinjiang in southeastern China, 361 is one of the country's largest sports brands. It has more than 8,000 sales branches worldwide and annual sales of over $5 billion. In the domestic market, its main competitors are Li Ning, Xtep and Anta. In recent years, 361 has stepped up its expansion efforts, focusing on markets like the Middle East, Europe and now Latin America.