Nike Chief Executive John Donahoe (John Donahoe) provided an enthusiastic defense of his company’s business in China. A few months ago, the world’s largest sportswear brand was struck by its past statements on Xinjiang. Stuck into a broader consumer backlash.

“Nike is a brand that belongs to and serves China,” Donahoe said on Thursday in response to an analyst’s question about the competition that Nike faces from other brands in the region.

In March, Chinese official media spread Nike issued a statement a few months ago expressing concerns about reports of forced labor in Xinjiang.More than 1 million Uighurs are Known to be detained The western region produces more than four-fifths of China’s cotton.

Nike’s statement at the time attracted criticism from celebrities, including pop star and then Nike brand ambassador Wang Yibo, who said they would sever ties with the brand.Nike’s website has A statement Said that it does not source any products or supplies from the region.

The share of Chinese sports brands that compete with Nike in the region, including Li Ning and Anta Sports, Initial rise In early April, Western brands faced strong opposition, including Swedish fast fashion chain H&M.

In the financial results announced on Thursday, Nike reported that for the three months ended May 31, sales in Greater China were $1.9 billion, an increase of 17% over the same period in 2020.

For the company as a whole, revenue in the quarter doubled to $12.3 billion, helping it achieve a profit of $1.5 billion, up from a loss of $709 million at the lowest point of the pandemic a year ago. Nike shares rose 14% in after-hours trading in New York.

Donahoe attributes the company’s success in Greater China in part to its decades of investment in Greater China. “We have been in China for more than 40 years,” he said, a connection established by Nike co-founder and former CEO Phil Knight.

Donahoe took the helm in January 2020 and visited Nike’s business in China at the beginning of his tenure.He said the company’s “biggest asset is consumer rights[in the brand]… This is true, I saw it in the first week of work. “

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