Reading between the lines: What China's economic strategy means for brands

Jo Bowman

Clues as to how China's economy, consumer markets and home-grown exporters are going to develop are all there in black and white in official – if slightly stodgy – speeches and reports, two leading China-watchers have told brand managers. International businesses looking to spot areas of potential should look at key government documents and recent speeches by Communist Party leaders, which show there will be a significant deepening of demand for consumer goods in the next five years or so, and government incentives for companies working in green technology, next-generation IT and a range of other high-end business sectors.

Speaking at a recent event in London hosted by WPP and UK Trade & Investment, the CEO of Bank of China (UK), Wenjian Fang, said there were clear signs of continued structural reform, aimed at boosting household incomes, stimulating domestic consumption, and a shift towards higher-end industry and away from heavy manufacturing. He said the government's current Five Year Plan, along with a recent speech by outgoing president Hu Jintao, shone a light on Chinese government strategy in ways that highlighted significant areas of opportunity for international business. "It might be a little bit boring, but if you can read through those documents, I think that's half of your success," Fang said.