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Will Kobe Bryant welcome his slam-dunk in Chinese sports market?

By Chen Yaping 04 Dec 2015

NBA star Kobe Bryant has decided to retire after this season, ending his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 37-year-old Bryant made the announcement in a post on The Players' Tribune on Sunday. The third-leading scorer in NBA history wrote a poem entitled "Dear Basketball" to announce his decision.

Kobe has been ready for his retirement by starting his business several years ago. What the NBA star desires is more than memoir writing and personal endorsement. He has studied international marketing in open classrooms of Boston University. He has even learned Chinese to understand comments left by customers at his Taobao store Kobe Inc. on Alibaba.

Kobe is not a freshman in business. He has set up his company Kobe Inc. early in 2013, according to Forbes. Last summer, he purchased a city-owned at $5.8 million, deciding to base his Kobe Inc. in Newport Beach. The company focuses on business operations for Kobe and capital investments in some potential ventures. For example, his first multi-million dollar investment was in BodyArmor, the sports drink. As the basketball star described, the company's mission was "to own and grow brands and ideas that challenge and redefine the sports industry while inspiring the world." 

In 2014, when Bryant was drawing up his business plan, he identified China as a potential market. This summer, Kobe announced his partnership with Alibaba, the e-commerce giant and Sina, a leading media company in China. According to their three-side deal, Kobe releases his recent Showtime doc Kobe Bryant’s Muse exclusively through Tmall Magic Box. Also, he launches the exclusive Chinese website on Sina. In addition, Kobe Inc. will set up its subsidiary in China, and seek more cooperation with Alibaba and Sina in the future. Their partnership is a new exciting chapter that will bring him closer to his millions of Chinese fans.

As a hero in the basketball world, Kobe himself is a popular icon. Evidently, once he as a businessman, enters Chinese sports market, a new wave of fever has started. According to NBA China’s statistics, there are up to 300 million people playing basketball in China. 

The popularity becomes a driving force for the basketball sportswear and equipment market. Therefore, if Kobe embraces the huge market in China, he will welcome his slam-dunk in the business world. 

Source: Forbes &

Tags: basketball
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