Xu Jingnan (R), PEAK Sports chairman, poses for photos with David Hopkinson, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment's senior vice president, after a news conference at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada, Dec. 15, 2012. A news conference officially announced Raptors' four-year partnership with Chinese sports apparel manufacturer PEAK Sports on Saturday. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
by Phoebe Ho
TORONTO, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese sports apparel company Peak Sports announced its new partnership with the Canadian NBA team Raptors in Toronto on Saturday.
Rapidly gaining ground in the international sporting world, the Chinese company is the sponsor of a number of NBA teams. This four-season long partnership with the Toronto Raptors is all part of the company's international marketing strategy, said Peak Sports' chairman Xu Jingnan.
This partnership marks the first time a professional Canadian sports team has ever been sponsored by a Chinese company. Xu said they're hoping to introduce and establish their brand in Canada with the help of the Toronto Raptors.
"Internationalization has always been the main focus in the development of Peak Sports," he said. "This partnership with the Toronto Raptors will help accelerate Peak's business here in Canada and bring our product to Canadian consumers."
Listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2009, Peak Sports produces and manufactures goods in a variety of sports. But with basketball as their primary focus, the company has established strategic partnerships with a number of high profile NBA teams such as the Houston Rockets and the Miami Heat over the years.
"NBA is definitely number one in the basketball world. They produce many heroes every year," he said. "This partnership with the Toronto Raptors will help Peak show Canadian basketball fans who Peak is, and who its products represent."
David Hopkinson, senior vice president of business partnerships of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment which owns the Toronto Raptors, said it's a deal that'll benefit both ends. It'll provide an opportunity for both sides to share information and learn from each other, he said.
"Basketball is the number one sport in China, with well-established roots here in Canada, and this is an opportunity I think for us to really do something that bridges the gap between two cultures around the common love for basketball," said Hopkinson.
With this deal, Peak will be exposed to Raptors fans who will see the company's branding all over the Air Canada Centre where home games are held. Peak's merchandise will also be available to Canadian consumers at the Raptors Team shop at the Air Canada Centre.
To mark the big announcement, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, one of Peak's featured endorsees, ran a basketball clinic and helped nearly 30 youth from local Chinese community get a head start in the sport.
Established in 1989, Peak Sports now has more than 6,000 stores in China.