For all of the population growth and expansion in India, the country has only won 20 Olympic medals -- mostly in field hockey. That may eventually change, though, thanks in small part to a risky but potentially business-savvy move.
Adidas is doing its best to affect change in India by offering shoes that will cost $1 a pair, or roughly 52 Indian rupees. It's a big move that falls in line with the trend of mass-produced products at more affordable prices, like Tata Motors' Nano.
It's also not the first time Adidas has taken the initiative to create change via inexpensive kicks. But as PSFK.com notes in its report, Adidas lost too much money on the first attempt to make the venture practical and financially sound. A few tweaks may have changed that, though.
"The shoe will be sold in villages through a distribution network," Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer told Die Welt am Sonntag. "We want the product to be self-funding."
The launch and release dates are still up in the air, but the mere announcement that the project is moving forward is another feather in the cap for the German sports apparel company following a strong third quarter and nine months for 2011. The company even bumped up its full-year earnings goals from 10 to 12 percent, with earnings per share jumping to just about 16 percent.
When the shoes do finally hit the ground, it will be smaller villages that benefit most. The previous attempt took place in Bangladesh, but this time around, Adidas is betting the mass production of shoes will be possible to supply the rapidly growing Indian population.
And who knows? With better footwear, young athletes in tough conditions may get the foundation they need to push their home country closer to the top of the medal stand. Maybe that's too idealistic. But at worst, a lot of people might live better, and safer, lives.
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