Time for com­pa­nies to up their game in China

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA -

The wash­ing ma­chine in my apart­ment re­cently de­cided to down tools af­ter work­ing per­fectly for 10 years. That meant I had to take a look at what’s on of­fer in the mar­ket to pre­vent the dirty laun­dry from pil­ing up.

I took a trip to a home ap­pli­ance store, and it was like vis­it­ing “To­mor­row­land”, be­cause I hadn’t checked the ap­pli­ance sec­tor for years.

One wash­ing ma­chine I saw al­lows you to do all your laun­dry with a few taps on a smart­phone app. The de­ter­gent and soft­ener are pre­loaded, and the ma­chine al­lo­cates a cer­tain amount of each based on the vol­ume and tex­ture of the clothes you place in­side.

The sales­per­son told me it was one of the most ex­pen­sive wash­ing ma­chines in the store, as well as the most pop­u­lar. It seems Chi­nese con­sumers at­tach more im­por­tance to qual­ity and in­no­va­tion than to price, and peo­ple tend to buy the best prod­ucts, he said.

Why buy a mid­dling prod­uct when you could have one with bet­ter looks, func­tions and ev­ery­thing else?

How­ever, the goods on show at the China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo have sur­prised me even more, in­clud­ing a re­frig­er­a­tor that can make latte cof­fees and heat baby for­mula, and a cook­ing bench that can be turned into a bar­be­cue grill.

As China’s stan­dard of liv­ing has con­stantly im­proved in re­cent years, the growth of the mid­dle class has brought sweep­ing eco­nomic changes.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by McKin­sey & Co, China’s bur­geon­ing mid­dle class is poised to be­come the prin­ci­pal driver of con­sumer spend­ing.

The new, more glob­ally minded gen­er­a­tion of Chi­nese will ex­er­cise dis­pro­por­tion­ate in­flu­ence in the mar­ket, and this is forc­ing multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions to come up with the best of what they have to meet the de­mands of picky and par­tic­u­lar Chi­nese con­sumers.

China has be­come many com­pa­nies’ largest over­seas mar­ket and largest over­seas rev­enue con­trib­u­tor, and none will want to miss out.

Multi­na­tional com­pa­nies are show­cas­ing their strengths at CIIE in Shang­hai. Whirlpool, for ex­am­ple, has in­tro­duced its lat­est W se­ries, while other ap­pli­ance man­u­fac­tur­ers have brought their lat­est prod­ucts to the event.

Wealthy Chi­nese pre­fer the best-qual­ity and most ad­vanced prod­ucts. It’s time for multi­na­tion­als to bring their best prod­ucts to the Chi­nese mar­ket, and be­come bet­ter than the best to com­pete with the ris­ing num­ber of do­mes­tic com­peti­tors.

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