Lisa Merriam

Chinese Brands Going Global, But Not Necessarily Going American

Milton-Kotler-Chinese-Brands-Strategy-ConferenceMilton Kotler, the preeminent marketing pioneer in China, updated me on the state of Chinese brands. They may not be taking over the American market, but they are most definitely growing outside of China. Here are Milton’s observations:

Chinese Brands Seek Easier Markets than the U.S.

“Consumer brand management is making headway in the domestic China market and developing countries,even in Europe, with apparel, appliances, computers, white goods, black goods, autos, etc. You would be surprised, too, at the number of Chinese brands in Africa, SE Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

The U.S. is the toughest consumer brand market to enter, and the Chinese want to get their brand management ducks in order so they don’t lose the shirts make a premature plunge.

There are strong Chinese brands in the B2B industrial sector. Huawei is now the world’s second largest telecommunications company. Sany heavy duty vehicles is building a plant in Georgia to compete with Caterpillar in the U.S. home market. Yutong bus is making a brand deal with Greyhound. So there is movement.

Chinese Companies Are Acquiring Western Brands

The key thing is that brand management takes time to learn how to do well. So China vigorously tries it in China and patiently waits for scale entry into the U.S. market, so they don’t lose their shirt with a premature entry. Meantime, let’s not forget that Chinese companies are acquiring well known Western brands, like Volvo and whatever else in manufacturing, distribution and retailing that they can get their hands on.”

Milton Kotler has been a business pioneer in China for since 1999. His company Kotler Marketing Group, with offices in Washington DC, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, conducts projects in marketing strategy, management and training. Clients include Motorola, Ford Motor, IBM, JP Morgan Private Banking, Exxon Mobil, American Express, Microsoft, Novartis, British Telecom, Pfizer, and other Fortune 1,000 companies. He is an economic advisor to the Mayors of Xian, Dalian and Harbin and is the author of A Clear-Sighted View of Chinese Business Strategy, Renmin University Press, Beijing; 2003. His new book (forthcoming 2009) is Why China? A Business Adventure.