Sports goods company Russell Corporation has signed a strategic alliance agreement with Kangwei to design, manufacture and sell Spalding sports products in China.

The agreement, which covers athletic apparel, footwear and accessories, sees the creation of a separate Kangwei subsidiary, Guangzhou Ganwei Sports Goods Co Ltd. Ganwei will launch Spalding apparel and footwear in June 2005.

Additional plans call for Ganwei to open as many as 600 self-owned or franchised retail stores selling Spalding apparel, footwear and equipment by the end of 2006.

Scott Creelman, president and chief executive officer of Spalding, said of Kangwei: "they have been successful with their Kangwei branded sports products and certainly have a tremendous understanding of the market in China."

Kangwei is a privately held company located in Guangzhou and was one of the first companies specialsing in sporting goods products in China. The company has more than 1,000 self-owned or franchised retailing outlets under the Kangwei brand.

Russell Corporation is a leading branded athletic and sporting goods company marketing athletic apparel, uniforms, footwear and equipment for a wide variety of sports, outdoor and fitness activities.