Speculators in mainland sneakers ride high on boycott of foreign brands

Published (HKT): 2021.04.06 06:55

Speculators are reaping a bonanza from surging prices of limited edition Chinese sneakers buoyed by mainland consumers answering the call to boycott foreign brands that stopped using Xinjiang cotton after allegations of forced labor and human rights abuses.

Sneakers by Chinese brand Anta featuring popular Japanese cartoon character Doraemon are being sold at 4,599 yuan (US$700), around 10 times the suggested retail price and with almost 9,000 purchases recorded.

Another limited edition pair by Li-Ning are being sold at 6.4 times the 10,889 yuan original price, with over 270 transactions having taken place. The Chinese sportswear and sports equipment company was founded by Olympic winning gymnast Li Ning in 1990.

The fever for domestic sneakers is taking off as mainland consumers answer calls to boycott big Western brands including Nike and Adidas for discontinuing the use of cotton produced in the Xinjiang area, where Uyghurs are allegedly forced into helping with the harvest.

Chinese state media, however, have taken aim at the speculators, stressing that shoes are only for wearing. Such “patriotic consumption” was a “negative influence [that] should be halted,” the Communist Party-owned People’s Daily said.

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