Global brand leader in emerging markets
Chinese brands are expanding internationally at a rapid pace, and the country’s international trademark filing s outpace other emerging nations, according to a new report.
The report from Thomson Reuters CompuMark — Chinese Brands Go Global: Best Practices for Global Brand Expansion from China — tracks trends in global trademark activity among Chinese and other international brands over the last 25 years based on data from Thomson Reuters.
All together, Chinese multinationals increased their international trademark filings by 84 percent over past five years, reaching a total of 35,637 in 2013, the report finds. From 1990 to 2013, the total volume of international trademark filings by Chinese companies grew more than 47 times.
On a global scale, international trademark activity on the Chinese mainland ranks in seventh place, only after the United States, Japan, Germany, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and France.
When compared with a peer group of emerging nations, which includes India, Brazil, Russia and Turkey, Chinese international trademark filings far outpace the countries combined since China surpassed the four emerging nations in 2007 and continued forward with explosive growth.
In terms of total trademarks filed, China is now the largest jurisdiction in the world, with a total of 860,935 trademarks filed with the Chinese Trademark Office in 2013 alone. It is followed by the United States, Brazil, and South Korea.
“We identified a tipping point in the growth of Chinese multinational brands, one that poses enormous potential for business growth over the next several years,” said Linda Guo, managing director of Thomson Reuters China IP & Science. “It’s no surprise that 73 of the Fortune Global 500 list, featuring the world’s largest companies, are from China.”
The current market environment for Chinese brand owners is experiencing a shift as more and more companies are designing and creating their own products. Many Chinese multinationals also are starting to acquire Western firms and inheriting intellectual property rights and insight.
“Lenovo’s recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility from Google, Geely’s acquisition of Volvo; these are watershed moments for Chinese companies because they are not just acquiring companies, they are acquiring decades of sophisticated trademark expertise,” said Deanna Wong, a partner with the law firm Hogan Lovells.
“Now, Chinese brands are very interested in the notion of brand expansion and they are starting to put in place the pieces to execute that strategy,” Wong said.
“China’s economy has grown so rapidly, laying the foundation for the manufacturing and service industries to evolve into international competitors,” said Xiao Yun, deputy secretary-general of the China Trademark Association. “Over that time, the concept of brand awareness has gradually come to influence consumer behavior.”
According to the Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2014, the total brand value for the top 100 Chinese companies is now $379.8 billion. The top 50 companies on the list have increased their total brand value by 13 percent year-on -year.
One early pioneer among Chinese multinationals is Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce giant that launched in 1999 with a team of 18 people and has gone on to generate more revenues than eBay and Amazon combined. The company is preparing for an initial public offering expected to value it at more than $100 billion.
Karen Law, Alibaba’s senior legal counsel of intellectual property, said although trademark watching is still a relatively new concept to most Chinese firms, Alibaba has a global network of vendors and a centralized watch system to monitor its various marks around the world. “The biggest challenge for us, when it comes to protecting and monitoring trademarks is language barriers in places like India and Russia,” she said.
However, most other Chinese brands are more of a symbol than special products, such as the national oil and automobile companies, according to Xie Jinghui, deputy head of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
Workers process packages in a express mail delivery service company in Shanghai.