Adidas shifts high-tech factories to Asia

The sportswear maker will be moving its robot technology to Asia and closing down two modern plants in Germany and the US.
By: | November 12, 2019

Adidas this week announced that it will be moving more of its robot technology to Asia, doing a U-turn on its current strategy of keeping some manufacturing in Western markets.

Adidas is the second largest sports manufacturer in the world after Nike. Headquartered in Germany, its products are worn by global superstars from the sporting world including Lionel Messi and David Beckham.

Its latest shifting of resources involves Adidas shutting down two high-tech “robot” factories in Germany and the US and deploying that technology in Asia where it will be “more economic and flexible.”

The ultra-modern Adidas factories were built to meet demand for faster delivery of its new styles to its major markets while dealing with rising wages and shipping costs in Asia.

But now the German sportswear firm has reversed its strategy and is focusing again on Asia for its manufacturing needs. However, Adidas did credit the two high-tech plants for helping the company improve its expertise in innovative manufacturing.

Adidas started making shoes, largely by robot technology, at its “Speedfactory” near its Bavarian headquarters in 2016. The following year it opened another plant in the US near Atlanta.

Adidas has shifted most of its production from Europe to Asia and now relies on more than 1 million workers in contract factories, particularly in China and Vietnam.