The link between global sports brands and the violation of workers' rights in Asia has been a mainstream issue for many years. A ceaseless flow of news reports on the infringement of workers' rights in Asia suggests that neocolonialist dependencies and the ruthless exploitation of sweatshop labor are endemic in the industry. However, Asian corporations standing in the shadow of global brands have recently taken the lead in coordinating global sports commodity chains. Asia's rise within the industry is having manifold impacts on development opportunities for workers, companies, and countries, first of all in the Asian region, but also beyond. Putting these transformations into the historical perspective of industrialization, this essay questions the taken-for-granted assumption about agency and compliance behind the new international division of labor.

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