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Chamber to Further Ties with China

The European Chamber of Commerce in China Thursday pledged to further strengthen its partnerships with related Chinese governmental departments and companies in helping Chinese firms build their own famous brands.

"European Union (EU) companies are very much in favor of supporting the building and expansion of Chinese brands," said Paul Ranjard, chairperson of the chamber's Intellectual Property Rights Working Group. "This is definitely the best way to solve the counterfeiting problem."

Chinese companies have a great advantage, in terms of quality and price, which are more important to success than trying to commercialize their products under brands that are identical, look similar, or already have registered trademarks.

"They would make a far better choice in developing and promoting their own original brands," he said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

China has launched a campaign to foster its own brands in a bid to help Chinese firms gain a sharpened edged in the increasingly intense competition in domestic and overseas markets.

But so far, only a limited number of Chinese firms have gained good recognition in international markets.

As a result, it is necessary to learn from others to develop the country's own famous brands.

In this regard, the EU has the advantage of experience. Some EU trademarks are more than two centuries old, and therefore EU companies have acquired considerable experience in brand building and expansion, he said.

"However, Chinese companies are learning fast and some of them, such as Lenovo and Haier, are becoming well-known trademarks outside China," he said.

For Chinese companies, it will be necessary to think of names that are likely to attract the attention of foreigners. Pure transliteration of the Chinese language is unlikely to achieve such objectives, he advised.

"The famous brand 'Haier' is an example to follow, as it is definitely beginning to be recognized in Europe," he said.

Ranjard also cited the example of Chinese computer giant "Legend" changing its name to "Lenovo" as a good brand strategy, taking into account the whole world market.

"Instead of building their own global brands, another strategy for Chinese companies is, of course, to buy foreign brands, including EU brands," he said.

In a global economy, Chinese companies will have to make sure that their brand names are registered and protected in every targetted market and comply with local, regional and international intellectual property (IPR) regulations, he suggested.

(China Daily February 20, 2004)   

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