Nike CEO John Donahoe defended the company’s business in China this week, saying, “Nike is a brand that is of China and for China” following a consumer boycott in the country.
Donahoe made the remark during a call with Wall Street analysts on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings when asked about competition from Chinese companies, the BBC reported.
Nike drew backlash in China in March after it issued a statement expressing concern over reports of forced labor in the Xinjiang region.
Other Western companies also expressed concerns about forced labor of minority Uyghurs in cotton production.
“Nike does not source products from [Xinjiang] and we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region,” Nike said in a statement at the time.
Nike had reported a strong fourth quarter, with a total revenue of $12.3 billion and a profit of $1.5 billion. Additionally, sales in North America rose 141 percent year over year, equating to $5.38 billion.
Sales in China fell slightly short of expectations, as Nike reported $1.93 billion in revenue instead of the expected $2.25 that analysts hoped for, Fox Business reported.
Donahoe in the call this week expressed optimism about business in China, noting that “today we’re the largest sport brand there,” according to the BBC.