Global brands lose advantage in China

For the first time in China, local Chinese brands are equal to international brands in a measurement index- meaning they are now in many ways perceived as equally competitive, new research found.

According to advertising giant WPP and its market research unit Millward Brown, both multinationals and local Chinese brands score 100 on the metric of Brand Power — the BrandZ measurement of brand equity.

But Chinese brands have the advantage of upward momentum, while international brands are weakening, it said. In 2010, multinationals scored 115, while Chinese brands scored only 89.

A decade ago, international brands were synonymous with quality in the minds of certain Chinese consumers. They offered status and bling, while local brands could only aspire to being”good enough”.

Uncertainty consumers in China once felt toward domestic products is gone. Local brands are challenging and beating global competition and consumers increasingly believe they are comparable, according to Millward Brown.

The total value of BrandZ 2016 top 100 most valuable Chinese brands rose 13 percent in 2015,despite the economic slowdown, as consumers remain confident in their spending and optimistic about living a better life, it said.

Millward Brown said that Chinese brands are doing a better job than their global rivals, in providing quality and value and leveraging the right channels to make its products available to Chinese consumers.

As the information explosion in China makes people more sophisticated, they demand more choice as well as better quality and value. This presents an opportunity for new, niche brands to come onto the market — and again, local brands are taking the lead, it said.

Chinese brands are also doing better in catching the speed of the mobile wave. China is the most dynamic market in the world in terms of mobile use. The use of cash and credit cards is already perceived as outdated.

In addition, Chinese brands invest more heavily in media than their international counterparts.The top 10 investors on the TV channel CCTV, for example, are all local brands apart from Coca-Cola.

Chinese companies are learning how to develop unique, innovative brands. If international brands can’t speed up and change their approach they risk missing the wave, and being replaced, it added.

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