2 min read

👟 China now understands branding

👟 China now understands branding
Photo by Yasmin Dangor / Unsplash

In China Nike, Adidas, Mercedes, DolceGabana, and Dior are all losing ground in favor of national brands. These brands are the canary in the coalmine of two things I’ve been explaining since Trump’s election in the U.S.:

1️⃣ The Chinese consumer is getting more and more proud of its national brands. The halo effect and de facto glamour of Western brands are disappearing at an alarming speed. One of the key reasons has been how the U.S. for four years just let go of multilateralism and explained that from now on, it’s everyone for himself, but also China claiming its rank as one of the most #advanced #economies on the planet.

2️⃣ Chinese national brands are more and more capable of competing with Western brands, both in design and quality. We’re still lagging and thinking cheap copies in the West, whereas China now leads the innovation of entire consumer sectors. In doubt? Check electric cars, payment systems, e-currencies, energy, automation, etc.

This should be quite the wake-up call in the West. The decades of wowing Chinese consumers with a “made in Paris” is over. But habits are deeply ingrained, and I doubt that many will read the writing on the wall and change strategy by radically segmenting their offer for China. Those who won’t will gradually exit China within the next ten years.

The next step for this new competitive wave is when Chinese consumer companies will also learn how to market themselves abroad. We’re really not there, and this will take much more time. Just like Western brands, Chinese brands essentially suffer from cultural tunnel vision.

How Nationalism in China Has Dethroned Nike, Adidas
Data show sustained consumer pivot away from Western brands

Dior probably can sell perfumes and beauty products in Paris without too much worry. For now.