City’s time-hon­ored brands a dy­ing breed

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG YING in Shang­hai wang_y­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chunghwa is a brand of pen­cil that many gen­er­a­tions of Chi­nese have used to prac­tice writ­ing Chi­nese char­ac­ters for the first time. But when it is ex­ported over­seas, it is la­beled dif­fer­ently so that it ap­pears to be a nonChi­nese brand.

Many fa­mous lo­cal brands ei­ther were, or still are, hard to find, in­clud­ing Hong­deng (Red Lan­tern) ra­dios, lo­cal watches and the But­terf ly sewing ma­chine.

When over­seas Chi­nese were al­lowed to re­turn to the main­land in the early 1980s, they went di­rectly to those brands out of a sense of nos­tal­gia.

Many bought em­broi­dered shoes from Xiao­huayuan ( Lit­tle Gar­den), over­coats from Hongx­i­ang, and Ningbo-style gluti­nous-rice dumplings from Meixin.

Sadly, most of the brands only re­main as mem­o­ries.

A sur­vey con­ducted by the Shang­hai Academy of So­cial Sciences shows that only about 10 per­cent of Shang­hai’s time-hon­ored brands are still mak­ing a profit. The rest are strug­gling or have shut down.

The more than 2,000 time-hon­ored brands across the na­tion show a sim­i­lar pat­tern, ac­cord­ing to a re­search re­port from Bei­jing Tech­nol­ogy and Uni­ver­sity.

About 27 per­cent of old lo­cal brands fall into the food cat­e­gory. A fur­ther 13.9 per­cent spe­cial­ize in dining and restau­rants, while 14.4 per­cent pro­duce cloth­ing, shoes, hats and other ap­parel.

Of the to­tal, 12.8 per­cent are linked to sports-re­lated in­dus­tries, 11.1 per­cent fall un­der the ser­vice in­dus­try um­brella, 10 per­cent are tied to hard­ware, elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances or ac­ces­sories, and 5.56 per­cent re­late to medicine, ac­cord­ing to the Shang­hai Brand Devel­op­ment Re­port.

But many have fallen by the way­side af­ter fail­ing to com­pete with state- of-theart tech­nolo­gies and in­ter­na­tional brands.

As a re­sult, mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­i­ties launched a cam­paign to re­ju­ve­nate in­ter­est in, and sales of, th­ese old brands by pro­vid­ing cap­i­tal sup­port and fa­vor­able poli­cies to cer­tain com­pa­nies, ac­cord­ing to Shao Yuling, sec­re­tary- gen­eral of the Shang­hai Time- Hon­ored Brand As­so­ci­a­tion.

The city’s 222 time-hon­ored brands gen­er­ated rev­enue of 162.5 bil­lion yuan ($25.9 bil­lion) and profit of 2.05 bil­lion yuan in 2013, fig­ures from the Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sion of Com­merce show.

Some 44 per­cent are Sta­te­owned and 42 per­cent are shareholding en­ter­prises.

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