Yearender-Economic Watch: Chinese brands extend global influences in pursuit of innovative, localized development

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by Xinhua writer Wu Qiong

BEIJING, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese brands received increasing recognition from overseas consumers in 2023 as they pursued market expansion alongside high-quality growth featuring innovation and localization.

This year, the reputations of Chinese companies "going global" have been bolstered by improvements to product research and development, winning the hearts of foreign consumers by providing products tailored to their needs, said Kantar BrandZ 2023 Chinese Global Brand Builders report.

The report, jointly compiled by the international market research firm Kantar and Google, surveyed consumers from 11 international markets on their opinions about Chinese global brands. It disclosed that at least 70 percent of interviewees were willing to consider more than 90 percent of the total 234 Chinese brands involved in the research.

Among the top 50 Chinese global brands named in the report were China's smartphone maker Xiaomi, home appliance company Haier and electric vehicle manufacturer BYD. Xinhua talked to representatives from the three companies' branding and marketing departments to reveal the stories behind their successful globalization drive.


Technology and innovation have served as growth engines powering Chinese brands going global, Doreen Wang, CEO of Kantar Greater China and global chair of Kantar BrandZ said. Chinese brands have put them in the core position in the brand building process as they sought to improve brand competitiveness and consumer experience.

"Xiaomi's long-term mission has always been adhering to innovation for everyone in the international markets," Jim Xue, vice president of brand and marketing at Xiaomi International said. The company ranked the second amongst the 2023 Top 50 Chinese Global Brand Builders revealed in the aforementioned report.

Since the start of this year, a slew of technological achievements have demonstrated Xiaomi's efforts and commitment to innovation. At the Mobile World Congress 2023, Xiaomi showcased the company's first wireless AR glasses to utilize distributed computing, Xiaomi AR Glass Discovery Edition.

Connecting data from a smartphone to AR glasses with Xiaomi-developed high-speed interconnection buses, the product is among the first to achieve a "retina-level" display, while designed for more user-friendly experience with a lighter weight and more refined innovative hand tracking.

In the field of advanced robotics, cutting-edge products including the bio-inspired quadruped robot CyberDog 2 launched in August this year have also reinforced Xiaomi's brand image as a leading consumer electronics and smart manufacturing company in the international market.

"In recognition of our efforts and commitment to innovation, the company was ranked among Boston Consulting Group's '50 Most Innovative Companies of 2023' this May," Xue said.

"BYD has put brand building in an important position in the development of the company, and leveraged technologies and qualities to empower products and therefore enhance brand influence," Brian Luo, BYD general manager assistant of branding and PR, told Xinhua.

Relying on its innovation abilities in the electric vehicle manufacturing, Chinese brand BYD has also made pathbreaking achievements in the overseas market in the past 10 years.

The company has promoted new energy buses and taxis in international markets under its strategy of developing the electrification of urban public transportation, Luo said. So far, the company's electrification strategy has been implemented in more than 400 cities in over 70 countries and regions, he added.

As the company powered ahead in the globalization process, it has grown its presence worldwide with robust sales performances and endorsements.

The company's passenger electric vehicles have entered 59 countries and regions, including Japan, Germany and Australia. By November, it had exported more than 200,000 new energy passenger cars to markets outside China.

Widely recognized by overseas consumers, a popular model of BYD -- Atto 3 has reaped international awards including the United Kingdom's best electric car 2023 and Brazil's "2023 Best Car to buy," Luo said.


Building on the innovation competitiveness that Chinese brands have developed extensively, the companies have also launched bespoke products and services to serve the demands of different consumers to deepen globalization and strive for higher growth.

Home appliance brand Haier extended its global influence by orienting toward the strategy of localization, which involves research and development, manufacturing and marketing in locals markets.

The company has opened 35 industrial parks and 138 manufacturing centers worldwide, reaching more than 200 countries and regions, Wang Meiyan, chief brand officer at Haier Group said.

To serve the different needs of consumers, the company has launched bespoke products in the overseas market, Wang added.

For example, it introduced washing machines featuring larger capacity for costumes in the Middle East, and drying machines with a sterilizing function to cater to the local weather conditions and special demands in the United Kingdom.

Xiaomi has also adapted product features for specific markets or consumers, enabled by the strategic partnerships that it has fostered with major corporations worldwide. For example, it launched the smartwatch Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro in September, featuring Wear OS by Google to serve international consumers.

Its partnership with Leica in enhancing camera capabilities of Xiaomi smartphones has helped the company to cater to the demands of photographers.

Extending the collaboration to generate a stronger connection with its users, the company has also launched online educational photography courses taught by professional instructors at Leica to help participants draw inspiration from masters and hone their skills.

"Only through consumer recognition and by injecting our brand power into the hearts of our consumers can we seek to take our premium brand image to greater heights and enhance our competitiveness in global markets," Xue added.

"As the development of Chinese brands matures, the competition among them will be more and more intensive," Wang said.

She noted that apart from innovation and global expansion, the brands will need to make breakthroughs in digitalization and diversification in order to realize stable and high-quality growth. Enditem

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