China needs brands to build its brand

China Daily (Canada) - - PEOPLE -

An­drew Moody

per­fect be­fore any­thing is re­leased to the con­sumer, and the mar­ket­ing peo­ple want it to­day.”

Wang also spe­cial­izes in Chi­nese mar­ket­ing on the ad­vice of Robin Wens­ley, the for­mer dean of War­wick Business School.

“He said if I was to study mar­ket­ing, I should study China mar­ket­ing be­cause it would give me a unique sell­ing point in the UK,” she laughed.

It was a new sub­ject in China be­cause in the 1970s there was not even a word for it, she said.

“It was a planned econ­omy so there was no need for mar­ket­ing. Nowa­days the word is yingx­iao, which means sell­ing.”

Wang has been evan­gel­i­cal in try­ing to get across the mes­sage in China it­self that brands and mar­ket­ing are im­por­tant. She ad­dressed the Pu­jiang In­no­va­tion Fo­rum, or­ga­nized by the Min­istry of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, in Shang­hai as far back as 2000.

“Peo­ple there were talk­ing about in­no­va­tion and I went there to talk about brands be­cause I wanted to raise the aware­ness among Chi­nese com­pa­nies and the gov­ern­ment it­self that they should re­ally un­der­stand how to build brands.”

When China first be­gan to rapidly de­velop, many Chi­nese com­pa­nies found their brands were killed al­most at birth by Western com­pa­nies, she said.

“Some Chi­nese com­pa­nies were very naive. They had brands that could have been quite promis­ing but they al­lowed them­selves to be ac­quired by Western brands which ba­si­cally dis­carded them,” she said.

Wang, who has held a num­ber of posts at Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties, in­clud­ing Sun Yat-sen, Tongji and Ts­inghua, said the prob­lem many Chi­nese brands face to­day is the neg­a­tive as­so­ci­a­tion at­tached with be­ing from China.

“Un­for­tu­nately, it means cheap, and that is not just for Western peo­ple but the Chi­nese too. So Chi­nese com­pa­nies of­ten try to give their prod­ucts Western-sound­ing names.”

How­ever, she be­lieves Chi­nese com­pa­nies such as Alibaba, Ten­cent and Huawei have made huge strides.

Chi­nese in­fras­truc­ture com­pa­nies are also mov­ing from mar­kets such as Africa, where they are now well es­tab­lished, to Europe to be in­volved in ma­jor projects such as HS2 high­speed rail link in Bri­tain.

“I think Europe is a very promis­ing strate­gic part­ner for Chi­nese com­pa­nies and I think they are very re­cep­tive to Chi­nese in­volve­ment. I think it is much more ob­jec­tive about this than the US.”

Con­tact the writer at an­drew­moody@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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