Why Li Ning trumps international sports brands on the web

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L'Atelier BNP Paribas, in collaboration with the specialist in performance measurement ip-label.newtest, gives you an analysis of the web in Asia each month.

Today we will analyse the performance of major international sports brands on the web in China, namely Li Ning, Nike, AdidasReebok and Puma

It bears reminding that Li Ning is a former Chinese gymnast who won six medals at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. An emblematic figure in China, Li Ning lit the flame at the Olympic stadium for the Games in Beijing.

Li Ning made a brilliant transition to company director at the end of his sports career, founding the Li Ning Company, which specialises in the sale of sports apparel, apparatus and equipment.

After swiftly conquering the Chinese market, Li Ning took on the rest of the world, becoming serious competition to the few Western companies that were sharing the market up until then, namely the two major rivals we all know: Nike and Adidas.

With image being a major issue for these brands, the marketing budgets allocated to developing them are some of the largest, with huge investments made in advertising as well as offline and online sponsorship.

Henceforth, every product launch, every new communications campaign, every major sporting event gives rise to digital strategies designed to bring the most traffic possible to advertisers' respective websites.

Li Ning, a master in his own country
The internet makes it possible to quickly go to a virtual boutique or a site dedicated to a new product, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere on the planet, as long as one has an internet connection. But do these websites perform as well as the champions we admire?

In an attempt to answer to these questions, ip-label.newtest measured, from 11 of the largest Chinese cities*, the performance of the websites of the largest sports manufacturers implanted in this immense country, in an end-user environment, the way an internet user would perceive it.

The table below is built on a 100-point index on the basis of two indicators: the rate of successful connection to the brand's website, and how fast the pages loaded.

Li Ning shows the best overall performance over Nike and Adidas, whose perceived qualities are similar on the whole. Puma and Reebok lag behind the three others at the head of the pack.

Go fast or go the distance?
Just like athletes, the website has to combine accessibility -- responding quickly to enquiries by internet users, with availability -- allowing users to see the expected pages displayed in their entirety.

Besides the brand, it is only by combining these two basic principles that these companies' websites will succeed in gaining the confidence and loyalty of internet users. 

*Measurements made from Beijing, Chengdu, Fuzhou, Guangzhou (Canton), Hangzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, and Zhengzhou.

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