Chinese-American NBA player and recently crowned NBA champion Jeremy Lin has signed a partnership with Fujian-based Xtep International Holdings to be their brand ambassador as the firm enters the basketball gear and apparel space.
Xtep’s founder and chairman Ding Shui Po said during a launch event in Guangzhou that the deal will help boost “Xtep’s development as a company” and spur “future investment into basketball.” He also called Jeremy Lin “China’s biggest basketball player.”
The announcement came amidst Jeremy Lin’s annual tour of Asia, where he has previously endorsed brands including Volvo cars for Geely Automobile Holdings, Adidas and Nike. His partnership with Xtep is further evidence of his mass appeal across Asia, and in China more specifically.
Lin signed a deal with Adidas in 2014 which was worth $3 million over five years. Adidas is the leader in sportswear in the Chinese market, with a 19.5% market share according to Euromonitor. Meanwhile Xtep is sitting in sixth place with a 4.6% market share.
Xtep has previously focused on the running vertical with ambassadors including Olympic long-distance female runner He Yinli and male sprinter Xu Zhouzheng. Lin will represent the first basketball and non-native Chinese sponsor, as Xtep seeks to broaden its appeal both geographically and across industry verticals.
At the launch event in Guangzhou, Lin commented, “I very much look forward to working with Xtep, it really is a great brand.” Lin elaborated, “Xtep have never done basketball before, so this is an opportunity to be a trailblazer,” he said. “I am a bit older now and it isn’t about choosing the endorsement with the most money.”
As the most iconic Chinese-American basketball player, and most significant face of Asians in the NBA after the legendary Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, Jeremy Lin’s presence off the court is massive. Countless Chinese basketball fans around the world look to Lin as a role model and example, succeeding in a sport where Asian’s have traditionally faced discrimination.