Tsingtao, Lenovo champions for China

11 April 2012

BEIJING: Tsingtao, Lenovo and Huawei are the Chinese brands which have enjoyed the greatest level of uptake in overseas markets, according to new figures.

Global Entrepreneur, the business title, and Ipsos, the research firm, polled 1,103 consumers from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the UK and US to gauge the reach of Chinese products.

Tsingtao led the rankings among the 39 brands which featured in the analysis, as 18% of the panel had drunk its eponymous beer, rising to 31% in South Korea and 44% in Japan.

One strategy employed the company for expanding overseas has been working with Anheuser-Busch InBev in North America, while it also raised awareness via associations with the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the NBA.

Speaking at the National People's Congress last month, Jin Zhiguo, chairman of Tsingtao Brewery, said: "We will continue to invest in such marketing activities to enhance the image of our brand."

Lenovo, the information technology specialist, took second place in the charts, with 16% of respondents either currently or previously having used its products.

The company set a benchmark for Chinese firms after buying IBM's PC arm in 2005. It also established a tie-up with NEC in Japan in 2010, and purchased Medion, a German IT group, last year.

"Tsingtao and Lenovo both have a very strong foreign heritage," said Edwin Song, from Ipsos Greater China. "Furthermore, they have positioned themselves well in various global markets with strategic partnerships.

"Using this foundation ... the two companies can use their strong roots in China to successfully operate in the Southeast Asian markets, while leveraging their global strategic partnerships to win business abroad."

Huawei, the telecoms group, claimed third spot on 7%, having recently ramped up its efforts in the smartphones sector, increasingly focusing on the top end of the category.

However, 64% of survey participants regarded the fact Chinese products were typically "cheap" as one of their most attractive qualities.

Perhaps more positively for brand owners in the country, another 61% of interviewees suggested they combined comparative affordability with high performance.

Data sourced from China Daily; additional content by Warc staff