LEADER: Breaking into the Chinese market

China may be one of the few Asian markets to have survived the region’s economic crash (so far), but that does not mean Western brands should see it as a bottomless pit of consumer demand.

China may be one of the few Asian markets to have survived the

region’s economic crash (so far), but that does not mean Western brands

should see it as a bottomless pit of consumer demand.



As the first TGI data on the market shows (see Focus, page 24), the

brand landscape in the world’s fastest-growing consumer market is

unpredictable and Chinese brands are stronger than many might think.



For example, the data shows that Budweiser is not even among the five

most popular beers, lagging behind a clutch of popular Chinese

brews.



The US’s other famous export, Marlboro, is also failing to break down

the Chinese wall. It languishes three spots below Hong Ta Shan, smoked

by 13% of the population and thought to be China’s most valuable

brand.



But in other sectors, such as detergents and shampoo, Western brands

dominate. Procter & Gamble holds the top spots in both markets, and, as

one of the longest-established foreign players, its tactic has been

gradually to ’de-Westernise’ its brand images. If anything, this proves

that cracking China is no quick fix.