The journey from 'insider' to 'outsider': Four common misunderstandings in growing Chinese brands abroad

Sirius Wang and Lucia Su

Misunderstanding:

  1. Overseas consumers are familiar with China, and believe it to have a relatively benign and gentle image.
  2. Overseas consumers can still not accept a product made in China.
  3. The uniqueness of Chinese culture gives Chinese brands and the advantage to compete overseas.
  4. Branded communications celebrating the growth of the Chinese economy are of interest to foreign consumers.

As an increasing number of Chinese brands seek to grow in foreign markets, brand managers must begin their own learning journey before they can compete on an international stage. Although products made in China have long been sold overseas, the road for actual Chinese brands is long and winding. Their overseas strategies often fail to adequately target consumers, due to a lack of understanding; this is a crucial barrier to be overcome if Chinese brands are to grow internationally.