If you haven’t heard about the Chinese sportswear brand Erke, then we’re here to bring you up to speed.
After the company announced its 50 million RMB (around 7.71M USD) donation of flood relief supplies for Henan last Wednesday via its official account on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, it has received tremendous support from Chinese netizens.
The Weibo post has racked up more than 9.5 million likes at the time of writing, and related topics have been topping Weibo’s trending search list ever since. The hashtag for Erke’s Weibo has garnered 1 billion views.
“Wow, I thought you were going out of business, but you donated so much,” reads the most upvoted comment under the topic.
It’s true that Erke, founded in 2000 and headquartered in Xiamen, Fujian province, hasn’t done very well over the past few years compared to other domestic sports brands.
According to Sina Finance, Erke only achieved a revenue of 2.8 billion RMB in 2020, whereas Li-Ning made 14.4B RMB and Anta had 35.5B RMB in sales. The latter two companies have also made donations to support those affected by the Henan floods, worth 25M RMB and 50M RMB, respectively.
Chinese citizens quickly showed their appreciation by buying Erke’s products both online and offline.
Within 36 hours of the announcement, the company sold goods worth more than 67M RMB on all of its livestreaming platforms. According to a report from Chinese ecommerce platform JD.com, Erke saw a 52-fold sales increase on Friday alone.
The company’s offline sales also witnessed a jump, and many stores have sold out of their supply of Erke products. One shop in Wuhan had sales of 130,000RMB on Saturday, increasing 130 times.
It looks like it was robbed. Hongxing Erke, a Chinese sports brand, donated RMB 50 million to Henan Flood despite the loss.The people answered by snapping up. The sales volume in three days exceeded that in more than half a year last year.😅😅😅The factory has been out of stock. pic.twitter.com/ntFBRitLA5
— Sharing travel (@lsjngs) July 25, 2021
The positive responses have made Erke Chairman and CEO Wu Rongzhao show up during multiple livestreaming activities to express his thankfulness and encourage netizens to make rational purchases.
The company has seen some backlash on social media, however. A post on Chinese social media platform Douban accused Erke of not actually donating money and instead providing supplies and 200,000 bottles of mineral water. The post also questioned Erke’s previous issues with low-quality products, plagiarism, and tax evasion.
Chairman Wu responded via his personal social media account, where he has accumulated more than 10 million fans in five days. He said that the company has sent out part of the donation package and that the rest will arrive shortly via Zhengzhou Charity General Association and One Foundation.
“Please do not deify Erke; we’re just one of the normal startups in the new era,” Wu said in the video. “Please consume rationally and don’t bother other peer brands. The development of domestic brands needs care and love from everyone.”
The two charity groups have also clarified to Chinese media that they will deliver the donation in the coming days.
Erke hasn’t responded to the other accusations yet.
Click here for more of our coverage on the Henan floods.
Cover photo courtesy of Erke
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