Interview with Ding Shuibo

Ding Shuibo
Ding Shuibo
Chairman and CEO
Xtep International Holdings Ltd.
Xtep International Holdings Ltd.

What are the biggest challenges and the greatest joy for a sportswear brand?

Biggest challenges: fiercely competitive market environment; however, the market consolidation is beneficial to our company in the long run. Greatest joy: within a decade of history, we have become the leading fashion sportswear brand in China, enjoying wide appeal and recognition among the Chinese public. Our dream is to be the world's leading fashion sportswear brand and the most preferred runners' choice.

How does fashion influence sportswear?

Our target customers are the youngsters in China. Being "yourself", stylish and fashionable has become the chic of the youngsters nowadays in China – that’s how we differentiate our brand from other sports wear brands in China. "Make a fashion statement with sport at heart" is our motto. Our core market is the second to fourth tier cities in the PRC, with over 80% of our POS stationed in second to fourth tier cities in the PRC. By infusing the fashion element into the design of our products as well as our marketing initiatives, we weight equal importance of the functionality of our sportswear products. This strategy has proven to be well received by consumers and plays a vital role to the identity of our brand. Celebrity endorsement also makes up a core part in our parallel marketing strategy that combines sports marketing and entertainment marketing. By using popular celebrities as our brand representatives, it has successfully cemented our trend-setting and fashionable image in the minds of customers.

How much do you think futuristic products, especially sportswear, will be able to improve athletes’ performance?

Sportswear goes a long way in helping athletes to achieve better results. When designing all our products, what we always have in mind is the performance level and how they can help to enhance the users’ sports experience. That’s why we are constantly innovating, from the design, technology to materials. For example, we have developed a series of shock absorbent materials like the PU series, EVA series and soft plastic series, which ensures runners of all levels, enjoy the highest level of comfort as well as new sporting experience.

If you could give everybody one piece of advice in regards to building a business around their passion. What would it be?

First and foremost, I believe brand differentiation is the key to stand out amongst the competitors in the marketplace. Ever since we set up the brand "Xtep" in 2002, we have made the strategic move to position ourselves as a “fashionable sportswear” brand. Building on this positioning, We have continued to sponsor numerous mega sports events including international marathons across Greater China region including Hong Kong, Taiwan and PRC, national event such as the "China Olympics".

What innovations or new ventures we can expect from your company in the near future?

Running and football are the two core sports disciplines that Xtep has been focusing. Given the wide support and growing popularity and the stress on participation and enjoyment rather than competition and winning, we are in view that the sports of running and football are well in line with our brand value. On top of sponsoring marathons and campus football leagues in China, we are enhancing the corresponding R&D resources and investments in order to provide more innovative products in related fields.
Published on: 28/10/2013

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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