Columbia Sportswear Venture Poised for Growth

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Trekking through the Colorado snow, wearing Columbia Sportswear head to toe

Trekking through the Colorado snow, wearing Columbia Sportswear head to toe

Portland, OR—Columbia Sportswear has begun its new joint venture with Swire Resources, which is designed to act as a springboard for growth in the Chinese market.

Samson Wong has also been appointed president of the venture—Columbia Sportswear Commercial (Shanghai) Company—headquartered in Shanghai.

The company’s new operating model in China was announced in June last year, and inherits the broad distribution network established over the past nine years by Swire Resources, which has acted as Columbia’s exclusive distributor in China since 2004.

This network consists of 51 wholesale dealers operating around 660 Columbia Sportswear retail locations and 47 Mountain Hardwear retail locations in 180 cities. In addition, the joint venture directly operates 70 Columbia branded retail locations in seven cities.

“The financial and operating resources both joint venture partners are investing come at a critical time in the evolution of the dynamic, growing and increasingly competitive outdoor apparel and footwear market in China,” Wong said.

Columbia Sportswear has a 60% stake in the new business, which will be fully consolidated in Columbia Sportswear’s operating results beginning with the first quarter of 2014.

The joint venture agreement carries an initial term of 20 years. In addition to serving as joint venture partner in China, Swire Resources will continue as Columbia’s independent distributor in Hong Kong and Macau.

“We also expect to generate growth through our new joint venture in China, grow and expand our direct-to-consumer operations, generate growth in our North American and European wholesale businesses, and grow in key international markets served by independent distributors,” Columbia’s CEO Tim Boyle said in November.