"It’s a complete illusion to believe, that manufacturing can go back to Europe"
Despite plans to bring 'fast-fashion' style production facilities to Germany and North America - and a recent partnership to make 3D printed shoes with a Silicon Valley firm - Adidas has said that the future of mass production remains in Asia.
"Our production landscape is 90% Asia-based. I do not believe, and it’s a complete illusion to believe, that manufacturing can go back to Europe in terms of volume," Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted stated.
While there may be a political pressure to bring manufacturing operations to the US - he believes that it does not make financial sense:
"The only thing you get out of it is potentially a political interest, you are moving into a market where you have no competence. Just financially it’s very illogical and highly unlikely that will happen. And that goes for the entire industry, I’m not speaking just for Adidas," he said.
"What you’re going to see is sophisticated manufacturing technology manufacturing shoes for a very small market segment, and then you’re going to see those sophisticated manufacturing technologies taken back into China," the CEO added.
He took control of the firm in October of last year and his comments contradict promises from former boss Herbert Hainer who said he would bring major manufacturing operations back to Germany.
The German executive argues that semi-automated factories are significantly more productive than fully automated 'robot-based' production centres.
Of its 360 million pairs of shoes manufactured each year, 1 million are made in fully automated facilities.