The brand has launched in Hong Kong under a partnership with retailer GigaSports, although Michael Gable, the company's director of marketing in Asia, said the brand may look into opening its own retail presence here, and is looking to expand to other markets in the region as well.
Unlike most foreign brands, Under Armour entered the mainland China market before coming to Hong Kong. It has self-owned shops in Beijing and a presence through partners in Shanghai, according to its website. The brand also has plans for further expansion in Guangzhou.
Asked about the reason for the 'late' launch in Hong Kong, Gable said both markets are equally important. “There isn’t a type of preference towards a specific location," he said. "Our mission is to empower athletes everywhere, and that is going to be global.”
Gable said Under Armour is not worried about facing highly established foreign sportswear brands in China. "We are about authenticity and about the athlete. We’re not for everyone—we are an athlete’s brand, and I think that it is what makes us different.”
Gable said that one marketing challenge in China, and to some extent in Hong Kong, is that people almost always equate 'athlete' with 'professional'. “But in fact we want people to be able to relate [to us], so that’s why you don’t have to be a professional to set a goal for yourself and to be better,” he said.
Although there are cultural differences between Asian consumers and, for example, American consumers, there is no difference in athletes. “Athletes speak the same language ... they’re looking for the same things, striving to be better," he said. "It doesn’t matter where you’re training.”
As for marketing strategy, Under Armour Hong Kong hopes to catch the most attention possible. “We want to have a big bang when we come out—that’s why we invited Spurs,” Gable said, adding that the brand is looking to partner with other athletes. It will also rely on its social media activities.
The brand's products are now available at GigaSports’ Harbour City, Pacific Place, and Festival Walk locations.