If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as the saying goes, Under Armour must have woken up blushing Friday morning. A new Chinese sportswear brand called Uncle Martian just launched this week, and many have pointed out it looks an awful lot like the Maryland-based U.S. company.
Mashable reports that the brand set up an account on Chinese social media platform Weibo Friday morning, and that the Tingfei Long Sporting Goods Co., an 800-employee company based in Fujian province in southern China, is behind the brand.
Pictures posted to social media seem to show that Uncle Martian's logo bears a striking resemblance to the easily recognizable overlapping U-shapes that are synonymous with Under Armour.
Users on social media have called out the resemblance. Business Insider pointed out that the company even shared a Weibo post that featured a side-by-side comparison of its logo to Under Armour's. "Everything from the distinctive hooped logo to the prominent use of red basically screams 'copycat', but the heads of Uncle Martian played it very cool at their grand launch yesterday," wrote the Independent.
Mashable reported that Tingfei Long has been making off-brand gear for years, but that a company executive indicated in an interview with a local paper that the launch of Uncle Martian was an attempt to cut into the business of the branded shoe market dominated by U.S. companies like Nike, Under Armour and New Balance.
— Jimmy Tong (@LoveMirrorless) April 29, 2016
— Mashable (@mashable) April 29, 2016
Largely thanks to NBA superstar endorser Steph Curry, Under Armour has increasingly established itself in the lucrative shoe market, including in China. The Street reported in March that a FBR Capital consumer preference survey in China found 64 percent of respondents had heard of Under Armour, up from 58 percent a year earlier. Eighty-two percent of those surveyed said they were more likely to buy Under Armour products this year.
Sportswear companies have seen growth in China as their products catch on with wealthy buyers. At the end of 2015 the market was estimated to be worth $22 billion, and was forecast to grow to more than $28 billion by 2018.