Only about 5 percent of the German sports brand’s revenue comes from China, but that could change soon with the return of Rihanna, and of F1.
Photo by Fan Jianlei
German sportswear Puma is aiming to regain lost ground in the Chinese market. Despite a considerable gap with Nike and Adidas, Puma has maintained its position as the world's third sports brand.
However, with competitors like Lululemon on the rise and aggressive pursuit from rivals such as Sketchers and Under Armour, Puma needs to act.
In 2022, sales revenue of 8.5 billion euros (67 billion yuan) was up by a quarter, but only about 5 percent of that came from China. For Nike and Adidas, it’s more like 20 percent. Recognizing the growth potential in the Chinese market, in June, Puma put Shirley Li in charge of operations there.
Li wants to use Puma's work with international celebrities, athletes and sports teams to create new bestsellers among young Chinese consumers.
In April next year, F1 will return to the Chinese market after five years, with the first Chinese F1 driver ZHOU Guanyu competing on home soil. Puma, an official partner, will produce fan apparel and other licensed products, exclusively operating fan retail stores during race weekends.
Besides sponsoring the Ferrari and Alfa Romeo racing teams, Puma became a top-ten sponsor of F1 in May.
In September, Puma celebrated its reunion with Barbadian singer-songwriter and businesswoman Rihanna, returning as creative director of the Fenty women's fashion series.
The collaboration between the German brand and Rihanna dates back to 2014 when she took creative control of Fenty.
In November, Puma returned to the CIIE, showcasing its collaboration with Rihanna alongside professional racing gear, indicating the brand's future focus.