WPP CEO says 'Made in China' is becoming 'cool'

Updated 2017-03-22 10:31:05 CGTN

The shift from “Made in Asia” to “Created in Asia” will be a key focus point at the upcoming Boao Forum for Asia. CGTN's Martina Fuchs spoke to the CEO of global advertising and marketing giant WPP, Martin Sorrell, who says Chinese brands are starting to establish a bigger presence in overseas markets, but have a long road to travel to build their images and become household names.

On Monday, WPP and Kantar Millward Brown launched the BrandZ top 100 most valuable Chinese brands 2017, where technology, banks and telecom providers led category brand value contribution in the country.

Tencent remains China's most valuable brand, growing 29 percent to 106.2 billion US dollars, eclipsing Tencent's 24 percent rise in brand value from the 2016 BrandZ study. Among other recognizable technology names, Alibaba came second with 58 billion US dollars in brand value, Baidu fifth and Huawei sixth.

The report also examined the top 30 Chinese global brand builders. Lenovo leads the charge as the most powerful Chinese export brand, with a Brand Power score of 1,682. It is followed by the innovative international brands Huawei (1,256) and the e-commerce market place giant Alibaba (1,047).

Consumer electronics brands represent 40 percent of the ranking's total Brand Power, and dominate the Top 5 – Lenovo (No. 1), Huawei (No. 2) and Xiaomi (No. 5) – an indication of the strength of Chinese consumer electronics brands overseas.

Sorrell lauded those electronics brands, as they did excellent work in the Chinese market and established their presence abroad and “Chinese brands have started to understand the importance of 'branding'.”

Sorrell suggested Chinese companies should start expanding from the Asia Pacific, rather than targeting U.S. or the big five markets in EU directly.

“You focus on your product category or service category, and drive it abroad. Not being too ambitious, maybe in the beginning, maybe thinking about Asia Pacific. Then maybe going to more competitive markets, such as the U.S., or the big five markets of UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain,” Sorrell said.

During the interview, Sorrell stressed Chinese companies should first satisfy China's own vast market before looking to expand abroad. “Focus on the Chinese markets, then start to go abroad, but keep the focus. Don't become too desperate,” said Sorrell.

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