Li Ning Launches Line of Smart Shoes

Chinese gear maker pursues wearable tech

Li Ning Co Ltd hopes to appeal to a younger audience with running shoes that contain "smart" chips in the soles. (Tomás Fano/Flickr)
Photo: Tomás Fano/Flickr

The Chinese athletic shoe company Li Ning has announced a partnership with smartphone company Xiaomi in hopes of breaking into the growing market for wearable tech and expanding its international popularity, according to Reuters.

While Li Ning’s market share beyond China’s borders appears to have peaked following the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing (in January, executives warned of an imminent third consecutive full-year loss), the company hopes to revive itself by appealing to runners who use mobile technology to track their progress and analyze their form.

In partnering with Xiaomi, Li Ning will align itself with one of China’s leading handset makers. In 2014, Xiaomi estimated its revenue at a staggering $12 billion, according to CNET.

The new shoe will contain a chip in its sole that provides performance feedback and syncs with a mobile app. Li Ning’s eponymous founder (one of China’s most accomplished gymnasts) described the partnership with Huami Technology, an arm of the Xiaomi company responsible for the Mi Band, as the first collaboration between sports and “smart” technology in China.

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