Marketing: How Nike Figured Out China

The China market is finally for real. To the country's new consumers, Western products mean one thing: status. They can't get enough of those Air Jordans

CHINA PHOTOS / REUTERS

"Just Do It": A Chinese student poses in front of a poster of Michael Jordan, who promotes Nike in China

Nike swung into action even before most Chinese knew they had a new hero. The moment hurdler Liu Xiang became the country's first Olympic medalist in a short-distance speed event--he claimed the gold with a new Olympic record in the 110-m hurdles on Aug. 28--Nike launched a television advertisement in China showing Liu destroying the field and superimposed a series of questions designed to set nationalistic teeth on edge. "Asians lack muscle?" asked one. "Asians lack the will to win?" Then came the kicker, as Liu raised his arms above the trademark Swoosh on his shoulder: "Stereotypes are made to be...