Chi­nese stu­dents to get US busi­ness train­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By AMY HE in New York

pro­fes­sor at the Ross School and fac­ulty direc­tor of the school’s China of­fice.

At the end of the nine months, they will re­turn to China for a three­month course that places them in multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions for re­al­world learn­ing, said Wu. When they com­plete the pro­gram, stu­dents will earn a masters in man­age­ment from the Ross School.

“Be­cause they are from one of the best en­gi­neer­ing schools in China and our ed­u­ca­tion is in busi­ness, this kind of cross-dis­ci­plinary train­ing is most use­ful in help­ing them be­come man­agers for the new age,” Wu told China Daily.

“Nowa­days you

see

a

lot

of con­ver­gence of in­dus­tries and com­pe­ti­tion, mean­ing that com­pe­ti­tion is not only com­ing from man­u­fac­tur­ing or en­gi­neer­ing, but in­ter­sec­tion of busi­ness and en­gi­neer­ing. Many ideas re­quire solid un­der­stand­ing from both sides,” he said.

Wu said that the pro­gram with the en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents may even­tu­ally in­crease to 15 to 20 par­tic­i­pants and both schools hope to have US stu­dents study in China in the fu­ture.

“As a global busi­ness school, part­ner­ships such as this are key to pro­vid­ing a world-class busi­ness ed­u­ca­tion and giv­ing our stu­dents di­rect ex­pe­ri­ence in the global econ­omy,” said Ross’ dean Alison Davis-Blake on May 22 in Shang­hai at a cer­e­mony an­nounc­ing the part­ner­ship.

“This new part­ner­ship will ben­e­fit Michi­gan Ross and Shang­hai Jiao Tong Uni­ver­sity by broad­en­ing in­ter­na­tional en­gage­ment for our stu­dents and fac­ulty and pro­vid­ing a unique, cross-dis­ci­plinary ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence for the Joint In­sti­tute stu­dents to lever­age their en­gi­neer­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with busi­ness fun­da­men­tals,” she said.

Wu said that the schools hope that the pro­gram can cre­ate lead­ers from the stu­dents so they can bet­ter face com­pe­ti­tion within China as the coun­try’s eco­nomic re­forms re­quire more in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity.

De­spite Play­boy never hav­ing sold a mag­a­zine fea­tur­ing nude “play­mates” or op­er­ated a club at which scant­ily clad women wear rab­bit ears and tails as “bun­nies”, Chi­nese are familiar with the brand through its cloth­ing line.

Play­boy has 97 per­cent brand aware­ness among Chi­nese con­sumers, ac­cord­ing to Penn Schoen Berland, a con­sul­tancy that spe­cial­izes in com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­egy for cor­po­rate and en­ter­tain­ment clients.

So Play­boy’s part­ner­ing with a Chi­nese com­pany in an ef­fort to grow its mar­ket on the Chi­nese main­land is seen as a smart move.

“When a com­pany wants to crack a lo­cal-to-global code and suc­ceed in a for­eign mar­ket, it’s a wise move to work with lo­cal com­pa­nies, who have more lo­cal re­sources and knowl­edge of the mar­ket,” said Derek Dong, group ac­count direc­tor of re­search agency Mill­ward Brown, a mar­ke­tre­search firm in New York.

Play­boy ear­lier this month an­nounced a li­cens­ing deal with Chi­nese com­pany Han­dong United to man­u­fac­ture and dis­trib­ute Play­boy-branded ap­parel and ac­ces­sories in China. The move will ex­pand its dis­tri­bu­tion from 3,100 to 3,500 out­lets while putting Play­boy mer­chan­dise in 400 new lo­ca­tions across China.

“For Play­boy, a house­hold-sta­tus brand that wants to re­sume its for­mer glory, join­ing hands with China’s Han­dong United that boasts of its broad dis­tri­bu­tion net­work in China will bet­ter help with its ex­pan­sion of its fast-grow­ing pres­ence in China,” Dong said.

In re­cent years, Play­boy has part­nered with top-tier re­tail­ers and brands, in­clud­ing Collette of Paris, Lane Craw­ford in Hong Kong, Bei­jing and Shang­hai, and Ise­tan in Tokyo.

“As one of the most fa­mous and trea­sured brands in China, Play­boy is con­sid­ered the ‘must-have’ fash­ion choice by men and women across the main­land,” said Xiao­jian Hong, ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Han­dong United.

“We’re grate­ful to have been se­lected by Play­boy to be their es­teemed part­ner in de­vel­op­ing and bring­ing new, pre­mium fash­ion and ac­ces­sory col­lec­tions so even more Chi­nese con­sumers can en­joy the iconic Play­boy brand ex­pe­ri­ence for gen­er­a­tions to come,” Hong said.

The two com­pa­nies said they want to ex­pand the as­sort­ment of men’s and women’s ap­parel, in­clud­ing ca­sual cloth­ing, and for­mal and ca­sual footwear and ac­ces­sories, such as belts, bags, back­packs, wal­lets and lug­gage.

The com­pany said it has been sell­ing clothes in China for the past 20 years and has gen­er­ated $5 bil­lion in re­tail sales in China in the last decade. In 2014, Play­boy had $1.5 bil­lion in an­nual re­tail rev­enue across the globe, with more than half a bil­lion de­rived from China.

Play­boy has been been try­ing to re­gain rel­e­vance in re­cent years by trans­form­ing from a strug­gling adult-mag­a­zine busi­ness ren­dered vir­tu­ally ob­so­lete by the on­line porn into a more prof­itable li­cens­ing of its brands.

“We’re proud of the fact that the Play­boy brand has achieved house­hold sta­tus as the one of the most rec­og­nized and popular brands in the world’s lead­ing re­tail mar­ket,” Scott Flan­ders, CEO of Play­boy En­ter­prises, said in a re­lease on its web­site.

“To achieve this lead­er­ship po­si­tion with­out ever hav­ing a me­dia en­tity in China is a tes­ta­ment to the tremen­dous power of our brand,” he said. “China is one of our most im­por­tant mar­kets, and we’re com­mit­ted to work­ing with the high­est cal­iber of part­ners to de­velop pre­mium-qual­ity prod­ucts to connect our brand to the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion of Chi­nese con­sumers.”

Play­boy shares were once pub­licly listed but the com­pany was taken pri­vate af­ter founder Hugh Hefner bought back full con­trol in 2011.

Dong said that coun­ter­feit prod­ucts might also ham­per Play­boy’s ef­forts in China.

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