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Avoiding the Red tape

Originally Published: October 19, 2004
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

When Reebok signed Houston Rockets center Yao Ming last September, company executives were intrigued by the possibility of exploiting a relatively untapped Chinese market that had 200 million basketball fans and a growing, affluent middle class.

But for years, the greatest contribution that China had made to the shoe business was not its potential consumer base, but rather its cheap labor force that worked for long hours on little pay, ensuring large profit margins for shoe and apparel companies.

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