03/28/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Nike, Adidas Woo Chinese Shoppers With Customized Gear

The latest battle in the global sneaker wars is figuring out what a "Chinese" style looks like.

In efforts to woo China's consumers, Nike Inc., the country's market leader in sportswear, and Adidas AG are both aggressively promoting apparel and shoes with designs incorporating Chinese elements -- a departure from the mostly Western-influenced styles they have marketed in the past.

They are betting that the Beijing Olympic Games in August will be a prime opportunity for sportswear to ride a wave of Chinese national pride. At an Adidas fashion show in Beijing in January, costumed Peking Opera performers provided a backdrop for models showing uniforms for Olympic staff and volunteers, featuring polo shirts decorated with ancient Chinese swirling "lucky cloud" patterns.

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