Nike CEO: We Haven’t Been More Vocal on China’s Abuses Because ‘China’s a Very Important Market’

On Thursday’s broadcast of CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” Nike CEO John Donahoe responded to a question on why Nike hasn’t been more vocal on human rights issues in China by stating that they participate “in sport all over the world, including China. China’s a very important market for us.” And maintained that they have “a very responsible global supply chain.”

Co-host Sara Eisen asked, “Some are wondering, John, why you have not been more vocal, as a company, around some of the human rights abuses in China, when you have been so out front on societal and social issues here in the U.S.?”

Donahoe responded, “Well, as I said earlier, Sara, that sport — we think sport’s a global phenomenon, and an important phenomenon. So, we participate in sport all over the world, including China. China’s a very important market for us. We have a long-term history in China. … And so, we take a very long-term view in China. We’re continuing to invest in China and we’ll continue to invest in China, while also operating a very responsible global supply chain.”

Eisen then asked, “Do you feel like you have to sacrifice your values at all, as a company, to do business there, and to continue to grow and continue those deep roots that you talk about Nike has there?”

Donahoe answered, “Not at all, Sara. We connect to consumers in markets all over the world. And so, I can say, go into any country around the world and say, consumers in that market consider Nike a brand of their market, for them. And that’s one of the reasons Nike’s been so globally successful. And we operate very aligned with our values, always have been, always will, including throughout our entire supply chain. And so, this is simply part of the challenges of operating a global brand, in global markets, and we’ve navigated that very well for 50 years, and we will continue to do that.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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