Li Ning, China's largest sports wear and athletic footwear company, has made its first foray into the US with the opening of a design office in Portland, Oregon.

According to AP reports, the company has set up Li Ning Sports USA Inc "to design athletic shoes and apparel, and to engage in any lawful business".

Oregon Corporation Division records confirm that the company was officially established in August 2007.

Li Ning joins fellow sportswear giants Nike and Adidas America in basing itself in Oregon, two years after the company signed its first NBA endorsement deal with Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player Damon Jones.

In September last year, Li Ning posted first half profit up 52.6% to CNY198.27m (US$27.4m), with revenues up 39.2% to CNY1,909m.

The company, set up by former Olympic gymnast Li Ning, is China's third biggest selling producer of athletic footwear behind Nike and Adidas.