Archive for the ‘China’ Category
Last week, Shanghai, China, saw the hosting of the B2B Marketing Chief Congress 2013. B2B International was represented at this prestigious event by Matthew Harrison, Daniel Sun and Stephanie Teow, and Matt and Daniel were delighted to take to the stage on the Friday afternoon to present a session on B2B Market Research.
The B2B International-led session was well received, with marketers from such multinationals as 3M, BP, Fujitsu and Honeywell in attendance. The event, which is a key date in the calendar for China’s leading B2B marketers, also attracted a number of international marketers who had flown in from all four corners of the globe. The B2B International team looks forward to speaking at, and attending, many more of these events in the future as it’s a great opportunity for networking, knowledge-sharing, and spreading the word about the value of b2b market research.
We read with interest a recent article in Marketing Week outlining ‘5 lessons for brands looking east to China’. This is a subject close to our heart, of course, and one on which we have written extensively in the past. With China still a vitally important country for many Western organisations – among them a number of our clients – we thought this article might be of interest to you today. Taken from an event co-hosted by WPP Group and UK Trade & Investment, below are five considerations for Western brands with an eye on China’s potential:
1: Appreciate the value of branding
China is “under-branded and under-advertised”, but appreciation of brand building appears to be growing. Brands that invest in this area can prosper amongst China’s burgeoning middle classes, and the top CEOs of Chinese businesses are beginning to recognise that “brand building is the future”.
2: Think not what China can do for your business, but what you can do for China
China has established a series of ambitions for its own economy; these include being less reliant on exporting, and increasing domestic consumption. Many Chinese businesses are, therefore, looking for ways to move up the value chain. With this in mind, British brands that can demonstrate how they can help drive this shift in China’s economy, and help businesses move up the value chain, will do well.
3: Trust and meaningful differentiation
China has something of a reputation for counterfeit products, meaning brands that can offer reassurance and deliver on their promises will rapidly gain the trust of Chinese consumers. The ability for brands to build up trust in China is likely to be a differentiating and “deciding factor” for brands’ success in coming years.
4: Explore the hinterlands
China’s top tier cities have obvious appeal for international brands but they are not where the current growth is. Brands that are looking to do business in China should look beyond these saturated markets to the tier two (and tier three) cities of China. These are the areas where government is prioritising growth.
5: Understand consumer psyche and appreciate cultural differences
China is a unique country, and understanding its history and its culture is “fundamental” for Western businesses to successfully engage with its consumers. Brands must embrace the practices in China rather than attempting to force new approaches.
• Please click here to see some of our papers and articles on entering China (and other international markets).
• You can read the Marketing Week article in full here.
Earlier this month, AdAge and Thoughtful China ran a conference entitled Market to Watch: Building Brands Beyond Tier One in China. In a country where ‘Tier 2’ cities may have populations of 7 million or more, there’s certainly plenty of reason to look beyond the more obvious markets of Beijing and Shanghai.
Some of the top growth strategy takeaways from the event are shown below:
In March/April 2012, Asia Research (the industry journal for the market research industry in Asia) conducted its fifth annual survey of corporations in Asia who undertake market research through external firms. 108 interviews were conducted with individual research buyers in various corporations across Singapore, with some of the key findings summarized below:
On average, 7.1 projects (mean figure) are commissioned each year, a figure which has not changed much in the last year. Most companies (41%) commission between 2 and 4 projects.
Referrals was the most popular way of finding out about new market research agencies, with ‘consulting colleagues within their company’ (79%) and ‘consulting personal contacts in the research industry’ (77%) by far the most widespread methods employed. Attending networking conferences and seminars (51%), formal reviews of agencies (49%), receiving sales calls (46%) and Internet searches (45%) were the next most commonly used approaches.
Of the types of research suppliers used, almost 9 out of 10 research buyers (88%) turn to large multi-national agencies, the benefits of which are seen to include their networks, proprietary tools and specialism in certain sectors. Continuing staff churn, compounded by merger and acquisition activity, is, however, causing some dissatisfaction.
Notably there has been an increase this past year in the use of online panel companies (44%), and it should also be noted that DIY research is used by more than a third of research buyers. In a similar vein, while just 19% of respondents were aware of the recent launch of Google Consumer Surveys, 60% showed some interest in using this facility.
While there is a net increase in research budgets in 2012, this is much lower than research buyers had predicted they would have available to them. Furthermore, the net increase is mainly down to FMCG clients, with many other sectors reporting a net fall in budgets.
For more information on this survey, please visit the Asia Research website, http://asia-research.net/
Mark Hedley this week looks at the news of Saab’s acquisition by Chinese-Japanese consortium and how it is just the latest example of the increasingly global aspirations of Chinese companies.
A recent report by Rhodium Group suggested that Chinese outbound FDI could reach $2 trillion by 2020, with Europe being the favoured investment destination.
In spite of a difficult global economic climate, Chinese corporations are taking advantage of Europe’s economic woes by actively investing in ailing European businesses and manufacturing plants. Investment into the E.U. by Chinese companies increased threefold between 2006 and 2009, and then tripled again between 2009 and 2011, with rapid increase both in both greenfield investments and merger & acquisition (M&A) transactions across a variety of markets and segments. The automotive and technology segments in particular have been attracting significant levels of Chinese investment, with major investments in Europe by major Chinese corporates such as Geely, Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE.
Although outbound Chinese investment is hardly a new phenomenon, interestingly the report found that investment in Europe in being driven overwhelmingly by commercial motives. Whereas in years gone by, a significant share of Chinese overseas investment was driven by political imperatives, such as seeking natural resources for China’s development, these factors are no longer the primary reasons why Chinese firms are appraising opportunities in the European Union. The mix of industries investments are occurring in, the large number of investments by private companies and the competitive behaviour of these firms suggests that profit is the main motive behind Chinese investment in Europe.
Exploring this profit-seeking behaviour, the report also highlights the fact that Chinese companies have found that the acquisition of higher-value overseas brands, gaining technological edge and growing the business in a more regulated market environment are some of the key elements for breaking away from a fiercely competitive domestic Chinese market. For other Chinese investors, the crisis in Europe and an increasingly strong Renminbi, are enabling Chinese investors to acquire high-value assets at knock-down prices. For Chinese contract manufacturers of the labour intensive products Europeans consume, defending market share increasingly means expanding market presence. A final key driver is the need for Chinese manufacturers to tap into Europe’s pool of human talent and research infrastructure by establishing R&D centres in Europe.
Although the upwards growth trend in Chinese investment in Western markets looks set to continue, it is also worth noting that the total value of investment is small when compared to other major economies such as the U.S. and Japan. For example, per capita overseas investment by Chinese citizens was $227 in 2010, compared to an average of $15,600 for every American, and against a worldwide average of $3,200.
As the level of Chinese investment continues to rise in the future, there will be both benefits and drawbacks for European consumers and businesses. On the one hand Chinese investment is helping to revitalise many ailing businesses in Europe and is resulting in more competition, greater choice and lower prices for European consumers. At the same time, greater completion represents a threat to businesses in certain sectors, particularly at a time of economic instability and faltering consumer demand.
The original article can be found by clicking here.