COLOGNE/HONG KONG: Few German consumers are able to name a Chinese brand without prompting and a significant proportion view them negatively as they regard China as a major competitor to German industry, new research has said.

Globeone, a Cologne-based marketing and strategy consultancy, surveyed 1,000 German consumers seeking their views on brands from emerging markets and found that only 17% were able to spontaneously recall at least one Chinese brand.

While there was a high aided awareness of acquired Western brands such as Volvo (96%), original Chinese brands were much less well known. Lenovo (62%) topped that particular list, and even here acquisition was a factor as the company had benefited from the purchase of IBM's personal computer business. Telecoms business Huawei scored 44%, followed by Air China on 31%.

A majority of those surveyed (69%) had no preference for brands from emerging markets but 32% stated that they did not like brands from China. And only 12% associated Chinese brands with "excellent quality".

But the study also showed that Chinese brands were highly regarded in terms of value for money and were a close second to Korean brands with respect to innovation and design.

With German consumers perceiving China as a competitor they were anticipating strong brands would come from certain sectors, such as automotive, household and electronic devices and IT.

Niklas Schaffmeister, globeone's managing partner, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that all BRIC brands wanting to succeed in Europe would have to improve in quality and develop a clear brand positioning.

"In addition, the Chinese government could also start to support the creation of a more positive perception through a smart national image campaign," he said.

Schaffmeister added that patience was required. "Building a brand requires considerable time and investment," he said, something that many BRIC champions balked at. He held up South Korea as the example to follow if BRIC brands were to capture share in developed markets.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff