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Business Spotlight - - ISRAEL / US -

China is an enor­mous mar­ket, which makes it ex­tremely at­trac­tive for for­eign com­pa­nies. But many of them are find­ing that it’s dif­fi­cult to get estab­lished there.

Con­sumer prod­ucts that sell well in the West are of­ten less suc­cess­ful in China. Rex­ona de­odor­ant, for ex­am­ple, did not do well there. Unilever, which owns the Rex­ona brand, put it on the Chi­nese mar­ket in 2008. As the com­pany later dis­cov­ered, fewer than ten per cent of Chi­nese peo­ple ac­tu­ally use de­odor­ant.

“It has to be some­thing vis­i­ble or some­thing you can smell,” Shang­hai econ­o­mist Ye Tan told The New York Times. “De­odor­ant fails partly because it is in­vis­i­ble.”

De­odor­ant mar­ket­ing in the West fo­cuses on shame. Con­sumers are told that sweat smells bad and that, with­out de­odor­ant, they will lose friends and lovers. This doesn’t con­vince Chi­nese con­sumers, how­ever, says Unilever man­ager Lu­cia Liu.

“The tra­di­tional think­ing here is that sweat­ing is good because it helps peo­ple detox,” Liu com­ments. “There is a mar­ket­ing bar­rier that is re­ally hard to over­come.”

Mar­ket­ing cos­met­ics: know your cus­tomers

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