Last month premier Li Keqiang visited Europe with the biggest business delegation ever, in an effort to push Chinese companies on the international market. China veteran Joel Backaler was there during the visit and wonders if Chinese firms can successfully enter international markets. From the China Observer.
A strong brand is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘need to have’ in order to remain competitive in the current cutthroat Chinese business environment. In my book, I dedicate an entire chapter to Chinese firms building globally competitive brands, either through their own efforts or by acquiring long-established brand names from the West. Given that building a brand from scratch can take years and millions of dollars in investment, many Chinese firms view brand acquisitions – like ThinkPad, Volvo, Weetabix, and Ferretti – as an ideal path to increasing their competitiveness within China while expanding their business into international markets for the first time.
Over the long term, I am optimistic that Chinese firms will build global brands through their own efforts. The boom in Chinese individuals going West today (explosive growth in outbound tourism and study abroad) will naturally lead to more globally-minded executives at the helm of Chinese firms who understand the value of investing in brands. We are already seeing examples across ‘younger industries’ like biotech, Internet, and consumer electronics. Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma is a great example.
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