Back in February, we introduced you to the U.S. launch of Chinese footwear and apparel company Li-Ning and its first office/shop set-up in Portland. But another Chinese sneaker company is making even greater noise in the NBA recently: PEAK. And this past Monday, on the eve of opening night in the League, PEAK celebrated their own U.S. public introduction during its 2010-11 Season Tip-Off Party in L.A.
PEAK, which has been producing sportswear products in Asia since 1989, only just launched an American office in Los Angeles during the spring of 2010. And with its country’s most beloved NBA team, Yao Ming‘s Houston Rockets, opening their season against the in-town Lakers on Tuesday, it was perfect timing to kick off some fall plans as PEAK will begin launching products in the U.S. sometime in 2011.
“China is a huge, basketball-crazy country; they really love basketball,” says Shane Battier, who was the company’s first American ambassador for the brand. “They love NBA basketball. Obviously the Rockets are huge in China, but you’d be surprised at how many people know everything about the Rockets from the first through the fifteenth man on the bench. It’s fun.”
One thing PEAK has been able to accomplish successfully, and pinpoint as a major area for growth, is athlete sponsorship. The company, which currently ranks third in endorsements League-wide, endorses a host of NBA players from Battier and Rockets’ teammates Kyle Lowry and rookie Patrick Patterson, to Jason Kidd and Jason Richardson. The global appeal of the brand and increasing rise into American hoops has boosted PEAK’s appeal across the NBA. And in targeting players, they are trying to create a family of guys that can carry their brand to the next level in the States.
“PEAK’s really aggressive in trying to sign other players. And Kyle (Lowry) had asked me about PEAK and I said I’ve really enjoyed it; it’s been a great experience,” says Battier, who’s entering his 10th year in the League. “I go over to China once a summer and I’m much more famous in China than I am in America. So people laugh about it (laughs) but it’s funny. It’s been a great experience and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
“(I chose to sign with) PEAK just because I felt most comfortable,” says Patterson. “You know, I had talked to Nike, I had talked to adidas, but it just seemed like the people at PEAK were more hands on. Even the CEO, all the designers, they put forth that effort to talk to me and communicate. And they seemed to care more about myself than rather trying to you know, get my name out there; they wanted to take care of me. They wanted to have me be a part of what they were trying to do: trying to expand their name in America. They put their faith and how much they just believed in me. So I just felt more comfortable with them and we hit it off right off the bat.”
With nine NBA players currently signed onto the PEAK movement, the company hopes to expand its reach to more and more athletes in the near future. During its Tip-Off Party, PEAK’s Creative Director Josh Su explained the company’s vision as they move forward, with both Battier and Patterson playing pivotal roles as international spokesmen. He also dropped some knowledge about PEAK’s new product line, including some Halloween PE’s that are set to debut this weekend – so definitely keep a lookout.
Follow Jack on Twitter at @jensenjack.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.