Em­brac­ing the world helps make Ts­ing­tao a global brand

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By XIE CHUANJIAO in Qing­dao, Shan­dong xiechuan­[email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

Chu Liangjing still re­mem­bers when his com­pany did busi­ness over­seas 30 years ago, and had no idea where its prod­ucts were sold.

“It was like a ‘blind’ sale with­out know­ing the other end of an or­der. There seemed to be sev­eral walls be­tween the sell­ers, over­seas deal­ers and con­sumers,” said Chu, deputy gen­eral man­ager of Ts­ing­tao Brew­ery In­ter­na­tional.

Chu started work­ing at the in­ter­na­tional de­part­ment of Ts­ing­tao Brew­ery, based in Qing­dao, Shan­dong prov­ince, in 1986.

At a time when China was dom­i­nated by a planned economy, the brew­ery didn’t have the right to di­rectly ex­port prod­ucts. In­stead, beer prod­ucts were sup­plied to a des­ig­nated for­eign trade cor­po­ra­tion un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

Founded in 1903 by Ger­man and Bri­tish mer­chants, Ts­ing­tao Brew­ery bears the name of its birth place. It had gained some renown by the 1980s, but was still far from be­ing a world-lead­ing beer maker.

Things changed af­ter Ts­ing­tao Brew­ery was granted the right to ex­port di­rectly in April 1987.

Chu said he was told it should shift its fo­cus to real cus­tomer needs and ought to learn how to com­pete in global mar­kets.

“Hear­ing that team talk, I was al­most pet­ri­fied, but I quickly came back to my­self and re­al­ized it was time for a tremen­dous trans­for­ma­tion,” he said.

In 1992, Ts­ing­tao Brew­ery launched its first over­seas of­fice in Italy and then sent staff mem­bers to whole­sale agen­cies in coun­tries such as Canada and France. By es­tab­lish­ing joint sales com­pa­nies, the brew­ery quickly ex­panded its over­seas busi­ness.

Now the com­pany has be­come one of the world’s largest brew­eries in terms of out­put, with prod­ucts ex­ported to more than 100 coun­tries and re­gions.

“As a par­tic­i­pant, wit­ness and ben­e­fi­ciary of the coun­try’s re­form and open­ing-up pol­icy, Ts­ing­tao is also an ac­tive ex­plorer and prac­ti­tioner of China’s suc­cess­ful mar­ket-ori­en­tated economy, en­ter­prise cap­i­tal­iza­tion and in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion,” Chu said.

Sta­tis­tics from the Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Stud­ies last year showed Ts­ing­tao has ac­quired more than 90 per­cent brand recog­ni­tion in many de­vel­oped coun­tries in Europe and North Amer­ica.

“Ts­ing­tao will con­tinue to res­onate with the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment and so­cial progress and make ef­forts to en­hance the global in­flu­ence of Chi­nese brands,” Chu said.

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