Casting light on wealth-making
Liu Jinghua-led Zippo coasts on windproof lighters’ success to diversify into perfumes, apparel, accessories
watches and pens in other markets.
“We’ve received a large number of orders for personalized or tailor-made products, even though they need to be shipped from our US plants, indicating the demand in the China market is diversifying as disposable incomes rise,” Liu said. “We certainly see China as a must-have and not a nice-to-have market.”
Based in Bradford, Pennsylvania, Zippo has manufactured more than 550 million lighters since 1932.
It currently serves more than 160 countries and regions in the world. Besides China, major overseas markets include Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, India and South Asia. It first began marketing in China in 1995.
He Jingtong, a professor of marketing management at Nankai University in Tianjin, said, “Many foreign companies such as Zippo, US-based motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson and the Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV are proficient in launching promotional campaigns through music, art and other culture-related themes. They have worked well in the US and Europe.
“As China progresses on the path to an advanced economy, such promotional campaigns will be a practical marketing tool for global consumption goods manufacturers to use in China for the long-term.
“Once people get to know a global brand and get to understand the products, they usually find them very acceptable.”
He may have well added consumer acceptance could make some sales agents, such as Zippo’s, wealthy, very wealthy.