Interview: High-tech businesses take lead in Chinese brands, says senior WPP official

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-18 00:26:26|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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LONDON, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- High-technology companies have taken the lead in Chinese brands ranking as China works to move up the value chain, said David Roth, CEO of The Store WPP in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Asia.

WPP, a world leader in communications services, has well-established operations in China and will have presence at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai next month.

China is WPP's third largest market after the U.S. and Britain and WPP works to help Chinese businesses in and outside China to develop and make their brands stronger, Roth told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"We view this as a fantastic opportunity for British businesses in a changing Britain with Brexit around the corner," Roth said.

British businesses want to convey to China the amount of innovation, creativity, help and support in manufacturing and in building that British companies can help Chinese companies to help China's development, according to Roth.

With a keen observation on Chinese companies, Roth noted there has been a power shift in value growth of Chinese brands over the years. WPP's BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands showed that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) dominated the ranking in 2014, comprising 71 percent of its value in contrast to the 40 percent in 2018.

"Today's top 10 are pretty much all entrepreneurial companies and very much in the private sector and in high-technology and retail arena. I think that's an observation of how China is changing," said Roth, who is also chairman of BrandZ and BAV Group, which are subsidiaries of WPP.

"Of course China is still the largest production country in the world and will remain that for a long time. But it's seeking to move up the value chain."

Doreen Wang, Global Head of BrandZ, divided Chinese brands into three generations over the past 30 years, from production companies represented by Lenovo and Haier, Internet and digital leaders like Alibaba and Tencent to sharing economy companies such as Meituan and Didi. She said in addition to home appliances and cell phones, Chinese brands have excelled overseas in mobile gaming, fast fashion and drones.

"Many consumers we surveyed in Spain said they were willing to wait for ten or fifteen days for the arrival of something they shopped on e-commerce giant Alibaba, because the goods are so cool. Old stereotypes on Chinese goods being 'cheap and unreliable' are gradually reducing among young foreign consumers," Wang said.

While some Chinese businesses have been global brand builders and even world leaders in some industries, Chinese companies in categories like food and beverage, fashion, and personal care have lagged behind to explore foreign markets and create their awareness overseas.

Roth and Wang believed Chinese brands have a role to play in building Brand China.

Just as BrandZ's Chinese Global Brand Builders study finds, China's global brand builders are making breakthrough in robotics, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence-areas that will build associations with such positives as "highly-innovative", "cutting-edge" and "pioneering". Over time, this will feed through to the brand-health scorecards of China's brands and Brand China.