A China footwear clan’s fortune has returned to billionaire terrain amid shows of support for domestic brands in the country after a Nike statement last month expressed concern about alleged forced labor practices its Xinjiang region.

Shares in Xtep International Holding soared by 15.2% at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange yesterday to HK$5.99, their best close in more than two years.  That left Xtep’s controlling Ding family’s combined 53% stake in the business worth $1 billion.

Founded in 2001, Xtep supplies running shoes and sportswear. Among family shareholders, Ding Shui Po is the chairman and CEO, his sister Ding Mei Qing is an executive director and vice president, and brother Ding Ming Zhong is also an executive director and vice president.

Xtep shares traded at a recent closing low of HK$3.45 on March 10, shortly before an undated Nike statement saying it was “concerned about reports of forced labor” in Xinjiang surfaced. Nike, which doesn’t source products in Xinjiang, has since been faced a backlash on social media and boycott calls in China. China is the world’s second-largest cotton producer, and Xinjiang accounts for nearly 90% of its output, according to the government-published Shanghai Daily.  Nearly 70% of Xinjiang’s cotton is machine-picked, the newspaper said.

Shares in Xtep rivals Anta, Li Ning, and 361 have also gained since mid-March.

Mainland China is second only to the United States as home to the world’s largest number of billionaires.

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