Global brand leader in emerg­ing mar­kets

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By WEI TIAN in Shang­hai weitian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

Work­ers process pack­ages in a ex­press mail de­liv­ery ser­vice com­pany in Shang­hai.

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