The Unprepared: Are Chinese Companies Prepared to Go West?

  • Joel Backaler


Li Ning had the weight of a nation on his shoulders at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. He was a national hero after winning three gold medals in gymnastics at China’s first summer Olympics appearance four years earlier in Los Angeles. Unlike today’s China, which topped the gold medal count at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and came in second at the 2012 London Olympics, Li Ning’s achievements in 1984 were remarkable for a nation new to the Olympic stage. Unfortunately, Li Ning faltered at the Seoul Games and did not win a single medal. Deeply disappointed, Li Ning felt he was returning home a national disappointment rather than a national hero. Doing everything he could to avoid media scrutiny, Li Ning wandered around South Korea’s Kimpo International Airport searching for a moment of solitude. By chance he bumped into another famous “Li” — Li Jingwei, founder of jianlibao Group, China’s most famous beverage brand and sports drink maker. Li Jingwei encouraged Li Ning to think seriously about the next stage in his career. As a former Olympic gold medalist, Li Ning would still have plenty of opportunities to be sponsored by Chinese brands, but Li jingwei convinced Li Ning that the Olympic gymnast himself had enough brand power to build his own company.


Chinese Company Chinese Firm Chinese Manager Chinese Investment American Consumer 
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Copyright information

© Joel Backaler 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joel Backaler
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Frontier Strategy GroupUSA
  2. 2.The National Committee on United States-China RelationsUSA

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