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How Under Armour Is Taking On Nike And Adidas In Asia, The New Battleground For Sports Apparel


Autor: Andrea Cheng

Under Armour has trailed behind larger rivals Nike and Adidas in recent years, failing to respond fast enough to the hot athleisure trend in the U.S., but it’s hoping the growing sports business in Asia and an expanding middle class will give its growth a jolt.

One example of its Asian ambition can be found in Taiwan. At one of its two-story flagship shops in Taipei, a sign at the entrance encouraged customers to download its MapMyRun digital fitness app, part of its bid to build a global fitness community and better study customer behavior for more personalized products and pitches. (To entice shoppers to download the app, they are offered a discount for Under Armour's new Hovr running shoes.) Inside the store, “sportstyle”—its answer to the fashion-focused athleisure trend—can be found alongside more performance-oriented categories such as running and training.

An Under Armour store in TaipeiANDRIA CHENG


To be sure, Under Armour UA +1.64% still has ways to go to catch up to its rivals. Nike and Adidas, for instance, have long penetrated the region and are among the major Western brands eager to have a larger hold on the market. In the streets of Taipei, they are among the major Western labels that can often be spotted instead of Under Armour. Labels like Lululemon that have benefited from the athleisure trend are also eager to capitalize on the growing market demand.

An Adidas billboard in Taipei. Adidas and Nike both have major presences in Asia.ANDRIA CHENG


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