Li Na Signs Big Endorsement Deal With Mercedes Benz
China has become the world's largest automobile market. Mercedes still sells more cars in the United States and its native Germany, but China is number 3 and is growing rapidly thanks to a new upper class that craves an association with premium brands. Daimler executives recently said that April car sales for the company in China rose 56 percent, year over year. Sales of its S-Class cars rose 111 percent.
Mercedes recently initiated a road safety campaign in the country due to the amount of deaths on the road (more than 100,000 a year). The company advertises the program on the Chinese Web portal Sina.com, with whom Li recently signed a sponsorship deal.
Li Na's other endorsement deals include Nike, Rolex, Spider Tech and Haagen Dazs. She is expected to pull in about $10 million in endorsement money this year, which would rank her second in women's tennis only behind Maria Sharapova, who makes about $25 million a year and is the highest earning female athlete in the world.