Sports brand bets on Beijing Olympics to help it rise in mainland rankings The chairman of Adidas, the world's second-largest sports goods company, said yesterday that the firm would surpass arch-rival Nike in the China market within two years. Adidas plans to double the number of its stores to 5,000 and is targeting sales of Euro1 billion (HK$9.9 billion) by 2010 on the mainland, its fastest-growing major market, chairman and chief executive Herbert Hainer said. 'We are on a very good way to achieving this,' Mr Hainer said, adding that the German firm's revenue in China was 'relatively close' to Nike's US$600 million sales last year. The company's China sales had doubled annually for the past four years, he said. Adidas bought former rival Reebok earlier this year for US$3.8 billion and the company intends to almost quadruple the number of Reebok stores in China to 2,000 within the next five or six years. More than 50 per cent of the 200 million pairs of shoes and 300 million pieces of apparel Adidas sold last year were made in China and, despite growing labour and raw material costs on the mainland, the company has no plans to shift production to cheaper manufacturing bases such as Vietnam and Indonesia. Adidas' global sales surged 47 per cent to Euro2.5 billion in the first quarter this year, pushing net profit up 37 per cent to Euro144 million. Nike reported a 4.8 per cent profit decline for the three months to May as revenue rose 7.6 per cent to US$4 billion. Adidas is betting heavily on the Olympic Games, to be held in Beijing in 2008, forming an official partnership with the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee and signing numerous sponsorship deals with Chinese sports stars. They include the country's biggest sports star, basketball player Yao Ming, who will be required to wear a Nike-sponsored Chinese national team uniform but Reebok basketball boots during the games and an Adidas track suit to the medal ceremony if his team wins a medal. Chinese Olympic-related sales would dwarf those of the 2004 Athens Olympics but Mr Hainer said they were unlikely to come close to the Euro1.2 billion Adidas earned from football World-Cup-related sales. Adidas has said it expects profits to grow 30 per cent this year to almost Euro500 million with the help of the World Cup and Mr Hainer said yesterday he expected double-digit global revenue and profit growth this year. He also expected adidas to overtake Nike in the global market, but did not say when. Shares in both Adidas and Nike have declined about 10 per cent this year.