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Nike CEO says company is 'of China and for China'

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 6/25/2021 Haley Victory Smith
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The CEO of Nike said his company is "of China and for China" during a Thursday earnings call, according to a transcript published by Nasdaq.

John Donahoe defended the company's business in China despite the nation's record of human rights abuses against its Uyghur population. In March, Nike faced backlash on Chinese social media after a statement from the company circulated stating that it was "concerned" about reports of forced labor in Xinjiang.

"We're confident about what we're seeing in China as we drive long-term growth, and we have a long-term view about China," Donahoe said. "We've always taken a long-term view. We've been in China for over 40 years, still invested significant time and energy in China in the early days, and today, we're the largest sport brand there, and we're a brand of China and for China."

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Donahoe did not mention the Uyghur controversy during the call, according to the transcript.

In December, the BBC published an investigation that showed evidence that thousands of Uyghurs and other minorities were being forced to pick cotton in the fields of Xinjiang.

"Nike is committed to ethical and responsible manufacturing, and we uphold international labor standards," the company said in a statement that received attention in March. "We are concerned about reports of forced labor in, and connected to, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Nike does not source products from the XUAR, and we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region."

It is unclear when that statement was issued.

The company reported $1.9 billion in sales in China during its fourth quarter, missing Wall Street's expectation of $2.2 billion.

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"And the biggest asset we have in China is the consumer equity," Donahoe said. "Consumers feel its strong deep connection to the NIKE, Jordan, and Converse brands in China, and it's real. I saw that in my first week there, can't wait to get back there, and it's strong. And that's brought to life on streets all over China through the over-7,000 monobrand stores we have in China. So, we have a strong consumer franchise in China, and they feel very connected to our brand."

The Washington Examiner reached out to Nike for further comment.

Tags: News, China, Uyghurs, Human Rights, Fashion, Business, Foreign Policy

Original Author: Haley Victory Smith

Original Location: Nike CEO says company is 'of China and for China'

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