Global Briefing: Jul. 29, 2002

Wanna Be Like Li?

Li Ning Sports Goods, China's largest athletic-shoe and apparel company, built brand awareness the same way Nike did--by getting a revered athlete to hawk its products. But while Nike had to hand over millions in endorsement fees to basketball superstar Michael Jordan, Li Ning Sports Goods just put its eponymous chief executive in front of the cameras. Li Ning, a former gymnast, won the hearts of millions of Chinese when he took six medals--three of them gold--at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Since he founded his company in 1988, Li, 39, has doubled as its spokesman, and...

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