JULY 5 - LONDON tier-one sponsor Adidas has today opened the doors to what, it claims, is the world's biggest store in Beijing to help them cash in on the 2008 Olympics.
The four-storey megastore in the expatriate popular Sanlitun area also ups the ante with rival, Nike, the world's largest sporting goods maker, in the lucrative China market at a time of a slowing market in the United States.
"The opening of the world's first Adidas brand centre is another milestone in securing market leadership in China, one of the world's most important markets for the Adidas brand," said company President, Erich Stamminger.
Adidas is hoping to use next month's Olympics in Beijing to overtake Nike as the number one brand in China, and by 2010, grow revenue to one billion euros from its China operations.
Adidas paid millions of dollars to be the sportswear sponsor of the 2008 Olympics and outfits athletes from 16 countries including Britain, China and Australia.
From less than 100 stores a decade ago, Adidas has multiplied the number of its Chinese outlets to 4,000 by end 2007.
It expects to have 5,000 stores by the end of this year and expand at a rate of 1.7 new stores daily to 6,300 stores by the close of 2010.
Adidas claim the store brings together for the first time, products from the brand's sports performance and sports style divisions, and also physical test technologies normally only available in professional sports facilities
The Beijing megastore covering 3,170 sq metres boasts of an interactive zone where shoppers can test their skills in balance, speed and jump, or even work out on a rooftop basketball court.
The store retails special Adidas collections by British designer Stella McCartney and the Y-3 Concept by Yohji Yamamoto of Japan, and shoppers can create or design their own shoes and T-shirts.
Stamminger said the Beijing store would be the model for concept stores in key cities around the world, including London in the build-up to the 2012 Olympics.
Adidas have paid nearly £150 million in separate deals to be a top-tier sponsor of both the Beijing and London Games.
Adidas' association with the Olympic Games stretches back to 1928 when the company's shoes were worn at the Games for the first time.
Among the athletes to have worn Adidas shoes when they won gold medals were Jesse Owens when he claimed four titles at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and Emil Zatopek when he took an unprecdented triple of 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon in Helsinkin in 1952.
Nadia Comaneci was also wearing Adidas kit when she became the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the Montreal Olympics in 1976 while Britain's Daley Thompson has worn the company's sportswear for all of his career, including his victories in the decathlon at the 1980 and 1984 Games.
Adidas has also had a long-standing agreement with the British Olympic Association to provide kit for teams competing in the Games.
The agreement with London 2012 will see Adidas provide more than 1.4 million products to federations, volunteers, officials and others.
It will be the third consecutive Games that Adias has fulfilled this role.
They had a similar role in Athens in 2004 and have also signed a deal with the Beijing organisers of 2008 to become an official partner.