Nike Reportedly to Shut Down Run Club App in China

Nike will discontinue its Nike Run Club app in China starting in July, Reuters reported.

According to reports, the sportswear giant informed runners in mainland China via a notice in the app that said it would “cease service and operation” in the region starting July 8. A spokesperson told Reuters that Nike plans to provide runners in China with an “enhanced and localised solution in the future.”

Nike did not immediately return FN’s request for comment.

Nike Run Club app helps users connect with friends and other runners across the globe while tracking progress and milestones in the app.

The news makes Nike the latest global company to announce that it is limiting services to Mainland China. Companies such as Yahoo, LinkedIn and Airbnb have done similarly in the last year, presumably for reasons related to censorship or hefty compliance requirements.

In a previous interview with FN, Nike’s VP/GM of Greater China Angela Dong said that the company is focused on delivering locally relevant product to reach younger generations in China.

“They are global citizens, but they are also proud of their heritage and communities,” Dong said.

Nike also connects with its Chinese consumers through its Nike Membership Program on Alibaba’s Tmall platform. For example, during the Singles Day shopping period last November, Nike added 13 million new members, and was once again the top sports brand on the platform. The Nike app and SNKRS are also important components of developing relationships in China.

“Our consumers are engaged through social platforms, livestreams, e-commerce and digitally-enabled stores,” Dong said. “They demand the connected experience.”

Nike revenue in Greater China declined 8% in Q3 to over $2 billion on a currency-neutral basis, in line with the company’s expectations.

“As we continued rebuilding local brand activities again this quarter, Nike was rated the No. 1 cool and No. 1 favorite brand in China, creating separation and distinction versus the competition,” said Nike CFO Matthew Friend in a call with investors.

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