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Crisis creates opportunities for growing Chinese brands
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A shrinking market for the world's top enterprises provides opportunities for growing brands like the Hisense Corp., the company's vice president says.

Risk and opportunity always co-exist in crisis, Lin Lan told Xinhua during a recent interview at Hisense's Brussels headquarters.

Lin said the problems now being experienced by some world-class enterprises provides Hisense with an excellent opportunity to enter mainstream distribution channels at a low cost and rapidly improve its market share.

"Capable enterprises should speed up their transformation for bigger market shares," Lin said.

Despite the global economic crisis, Hisense, an electronics manufacturing giant based in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao, sees its profits growing rapidly.

During the first four months of this year, the Hisense Group's profits increased by more than 160 percent compared with the same period last year. That's according to figures from Hisense.

"That is not only because of its adjustment of industrial and sales restructuring in recent years, but also due to the international market expansion and adjustment," Lin said.

“Actually early before the financial crisis, Hisense had launched its self-brand internationalization strategy,” he said. "When the financial crisis came, Hisense was able to respond rapidly and adjusted the layout of the overseas market in time."

Hisense chose the "self-develop brand" and "core market" in 2008 as two major overseas strategies to achieve growth. Sales growth of Hisense brand products increased from less than 10 percent in 2007 to 22 percent in 2008 and 28.69 percent in this year's first quarter, Lin said.

Lin said that his company's brand strategy has achieved new success with Hisense products selling well in more than 100 countries and regions worldwide.

In Canada, Hisense has successfully entered the largest local home appliance chain CTC's 478 stores. In Europe, Hisense products have been highly recognized.

Hisense relocated its European research and development center to Belgium in May.

“When stabilizing markets in Europe and the United States, Hisense also pays much attention to developing emerging markets,” Lin said.

Lin said Hisense has also made great breakthroughs in regions that are less affected by the crisis such as Australia and Africa.

"In Australia, Hisense successfully titled a stadium located in the center of Melbourne, which is one of the world's four major open tournament venues and attracts the attention of numerous tennis enthusiasts all over the world each year," he said.

"Hisense brand awareness has greatly improved there, and Hisense TV has been listed as one of Australia's top five TV brands," he said.

Hisense Egypt, the company's fifth overseas production base, late last year began to manufacture television sets for sale in North Africa and the Middle East.

Hisense, which began as “Qingdao No. 2 Radio Factory" in September 1969 with a staff of about 10 people, reported sales revenues of 48.9 billion yuan (about 7.16 billion U.S. dollars) in 2008.

(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2009)

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