Warc Blog

Chinese brands need better image

14 May 2013
BEIJING: Chinese brands need to work on improving their international recognition and countering an impression that Chinese products are poor quality, as a new survey has shown a third of US consumers would avoid such items.

HD Trade Services Inc, a New York-based marketing and brand-development firm, asked 1,500 Americans whether they would buy a product if they knew the brand was owned by a Chinese company.

While 68% said they would, this compared unfavourably with the 81% who would buy a product if they knew it was Japanese-owned.

"We believe this stigma toward Chinese brands is based predominantly on the perception that Chinese products are of lesser quality, and a general disapproval of Chinese policy," Daniel Sperling-Horowitz, president of HD Trade Services, told China Daily.

The sentiment was recognised by Lawrence Li, the US chief executive of Hisense Electric, a leading Chinese maker of televisions that is attempting to break into the American market.

"This stereotype is common in the market," Li said, noting that many Chinese companies had tried to get a foothold in the US market but had often lacked a "long-term strategy to develop their brand in the market, and they didn't pay enough attention to product quality".

"We are shooting for advanced technology," stated Li. "If we can't be successful in the US, we can't be successful in the global market."

Sperling-Horowitz suggested that the focus of many Chinese companies has been on establishing and perfecting brands at home, with few resources allocated to marketing in the US and elsewhere.

He advised some simple steps that could be taken, including the creation of a good impression at US trade shows with staff who speak fluent English and promotional materials that are free of grammatical mistakes.

Taking the long view, Sperling-Horowitz expected  stigma towards Chinese brands to fade and that accentuating Chinese roots could even become a powerful point of brand identity.

Data sourced from China Daily, HD Trade Services; additional content by Warc staff

 
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