Allbirds China: Sustainable Footprints into an Emerging Market

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


The case describes how Allbirds, a U.S. eco-startup that entered the booming footwear market in China, met with challenges in putting their global perspective into local practice. This teaching note is designed for a 90-minute teaching plan, where students could impersonate the protagonist in this case, Brandy Yu, managing director of Allbirds China, and follow her footprints with the new venture’s market expansion in China since she joined in 2021. Allbirds was a San Francisco-based startup founded in 2015, which innovated the ways how shoes were made and sold. The company opened its first store in April 2019 at Shanghai, China, also the first in Asia. Brandy Yu in this case could inspire students through the decision-making processes in various challenging scenarios, such as where to find “China Charlie” and how to engage them, how to channel constrained resources into building product leadership and customer intimacy, whether they could “copy-paste” Allbirds’ Go-to-Market strategy in China, and most essentially, how to maintain a sustainable balance between localization and internationalization in both marketing strategy and organizational management.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2024

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Case type

Field Case

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Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Globalization
  • International Trade
  • Allbirds Inc. (China)

Case studies discipline

  • Ethics & Social Responsibility
  • International Business
  • Marketing

Case studies industry

  • Manufacturing


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