Outdoor apparel and footwear firm Columbia Sportswear has signed a joint venture deal with Swire Resources to expand the company's Mountain Hardwear brand in China.

Columbia Sportswear will own 60% of the joint venture, while sports retail chain Swire Resources will own the remaining 40% stake.

Under the agreement, Columbia expects to reach double-digit sales growth in 2012 and continue expanding its dealer-operated and own retail stores in more cities in the future.

The joint venture is expected to start operating on 1 January 2014, and will be headquartered in Shanghai. It carries an initial term of 20 years and Columbia will have the option to buy Swire's minority interest after five years. 

"Swire's expertise and deep understanding of Chinese consumers are vital to driving continued growth of our brands in this important market," said Tim Boyle, Columbia's president and chief executive officer.

The transaction is subject to various conditions, including regulatory approval in China.

Swire Resources has been Columbia's distributor of its Mountain Hardwear and own-brand products in China since 2004 and in Hong Kong and Macau since 2002.