BizTalk: Anta, from family workshop to sports giant
CGTN
27:16

Chinese brands are facing new opportunities with more people pursuing an active and healthy lifestyle. Among them is Anta, which has transformed from a family workshop to sports giant in China and the world's leading Chinese clothing brand.

This year, Anta's retail sales in the third quarter increased by 10 to 20 percent year-on-year. Among them, the retail amount of FILA brand increased from 50 to 55 percent compared to the same period last year.

CGTN's Cheng Lei sits down with Anta Group chairman and CEO Ding Shizhong in BizTalk. /CGTN Photo

CGTN's Cheng Lei sits down with Anta Group chairman and CEO Ding Shizhong in BizTalk. /CGTN Photo

Anta Group began like so many footwear companies in China – making shoes for export. There were thousands of shoe factories in Jinjiang, where Anta was founded.

But Anta Group chairman and CEO Ding Shizhong quickly saw the limitations of being a contract manufacturer, and resolutely abandoned the traditional route and took the lead in branching out to the domestic market.

Then came the big gamble. Ding Shizhong shelled out 3 million yuan for TV advertising and signed up table tennis star Kong Linghui as a brand ambassador, at a time when its peers were too timid to advertise aggressively.

"Actually I personally felt a lot of pressure. Because our business was small then, to spend this much on a single marketing exercise, if it failed, we would get into all sorts of trouble, even go out of business. So it was a do it or not moment. But personally I believed that Anta has to build its brand, if we don't have a brand, we won't have a future," said Ding.

CGTN's Cheng Lei sits down with president of Anta Group James Zheng in BizTalk. /CGTN Photo

CGTN's Cheng Lei sits down with president of Anta Group James Zheng in BizTalk. /CGTN Photo

The ultimate goal of Anta's brand upgrading and brand rejuvenation was to attract more young consumers.

The acquisition of the FILA brand has become a new growth point of the enterprise, confirming the success of Anta's brand strategy. As early as the 10th anniversary of the listing, Anta put forward its globalization strategy, and through overseas acquisition, is now the third largest sportswear company in the world.

James Zheng, president of Anta Group, pointed out "we want to be a respected company, it's not necessarily about size, but also innovation and corporate social responsibility. To be a global 500 company, you've got to be able to play in the international markets."

Right now 60 percent of Anta sales come from China, and it is growing above the industry average. In the future, Zheng said he wants not just Anta's acquired brands to do well internationally, but the Anta brand as well, the goal is for Anta brand's overseas sales to make up 20 to 30 percent of the total.

Anta made that transition from a family company to a large international company, but in the future Ding noted Anta could be more globalized, from the brand to the management to the governance and structure.

BizTalk is a 30-minute business interview show that airs Saturdays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. BJT and rebroadcasts throughout the weekend. The show is also posted on social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube.

Tune in the full episode on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. BJT.