Nike is flexing its muscles in Beijing, opening a flagship store in the city, as it looks to open its stride ahead of the Olympics there next year.

As just-style reported last week, the Beijing 2008 competition is to heat up in surrounding retail outlets, with Adidas planning to build its largest international store there ahead of the games too.

China is currently one of Nike's largest markets, with a retail presence in more than 300 cities across the country.
Chinese athlete Liu Xiang, the world record-holder in the 110m hurdle and the first Chinese track-and-field athlete to win a gold medal, was on hand for the opening of the 13,000-square-foot-store. It is the largest of approximately 3,000 Nike retail destinations now open in China, where the company controls about a third of the market the company said.

"It's extremely exciting to open a flagship Nike retail presence in one of the world's great cities," said Nike brand president Charlie Denson, who was in Beijing for the store opening. "China is one of Nike's biggest growth opportunities, and one of the most dynamic retail markets in the world. Our Beijing flagship store creates a strong brand statement with a compelling world-class shopping experience. As we head toward the Olympics, we're extending our brand leadership, deepening our consumer relationships and building what we expect soon to be a $1bn business and Nike's second-largest market in the world."