Columbia Sportswear closes buyout of Chinese venture

Outdoor apparel and footwear brand, Columbia Sportswear Company has confirmed that it has closed its buyout of the remaining 40 percent interest in Columbia Sportswear Commercial (Shanghai) Company, its joint venture in China with Swire Resources Limited.

The joint venture began operations on January 1, 2014 with headquarters in Shanghai, Columbia Sportswear Company owned 60 percent of the operation and Swire owned 40 percent, and now the active outdoor apparel brand has brought it all back in-house.

In a statement, Columbia Sportswear added that Swire Resources, a subsidiary of Swire Pacific Limited, would continue to serve as the exclusive independent distributor of Columbia Sportswear in Hong Kong and Macau.

Columbia's president and chief executive officer, Tim Boyle, said in a statement: “We thank Swire Resources for contributing to the success and growth of the Columbia brand in China. They have been an exceptional partner for us over the years and we look forward to continuing our strong relationship with them in Hong Kong and Macau.

“We are very pleased with the positioning of the Columbia brand, and are committed to investing in the continued long-term success of Columbia in the crucial Chinese market. The acquisition is consistent with our strategy to accelerate investment as a brand-led, consumer-focused business in the areas of highest growth potential for our existing brands.”

Columbia Sportswear added that it will maintain the existing management team, staff, dealers, and distribution networks that have helped the brand “flourish in China,” while adding that it has future plans to continue to invest in the region by expanding direct and dealer-operated retail locations.

Columbia Sportswear buys back 40 percent stake in Chinese joint venture

Heading up the Chinese operations will be John Soh, who was confirmed last year as the general manager of Columbia Sportswear Commercial (Shanghai) Company, he joins the brand in mid-February.

At the time of his appointment in November 2018, Boyle said: “John’s long experience in footwear and apparel in Asia, and particularly in China, are a perfect fit for our growing China market. I look forward to John’s leadership contributions as we continue to evolve our brands to meet the needs of consumers around the globe.”

Soh joins Columbia Sportswear Company from Lego, where he was a senior commercial director in the Asia Pacific region. Prior to that, he was with Nike for two decades, serving in numerous roles including senior sales director in Greater China and Southeast Asia.

Founded in 1938 in Portland, Oregon, Columbia Sportswear Company brands, which includes Columbia, Sorel, Mountain Hardware and Prana, are sold in around 90 countries.

Image: Columbia Sportswear Facebook


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