New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc said Wednesday it will open 70 stores and counters this year in Shanghai and Beijing to fight against counterfeits. It expects this will help narrow its gap with current leader Nike Inc to become China's second-largest sport product vendor within five years.
The US-based company's executives blamed rampant counterfeit products for its negligible sales in China.
"New Balance's counterfeits can be found everywhere in China," said Vanessa Wong, general manager of New Balance China Global Running Corp (Shenzhen).
"We have hired the best lawyers and will try our best to fight against the piracy."
The lowest price for a pair of genuine New Balance shoes is about 400 yuan (US$48.30), but many counterfeits sold in China cost 100 yuan each.
New Balance is also at the second place in the United States after Nike.
(Shanghai Daily November 13, 2003)