The Future of Chinese Global Brands

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While your workout clothes and running shoes are probably made in China, chances are they carry a Western brand name. All that's going to change in the coming decade as Chinese companies take their brands global

Athletic shoes and apparel are just one area where US consumers will start to see Chinese brands popping up, according to the cover story in the Premier Issue of Change)Waves, a new monthly newsletter produced by the DC-based research and consulting futurist firm Social Technologies.

"Chinese electronics, appliances, media, and even automotive companies are developing their international brand presence and globalizing their products," explains futurist John Cashman, author of the article, who runs Social Technologies' Shanghai office. "While challenges lie ahead for Chinese companies with global ambitions, over time these rising stars will alter the competitive landscape for US companies and give consumers access to new brands and products."

In the article, Cashman offers five forecasts for the future of Chinese global brands, including the following.

  • Mergers and acquisitions will yield the most prominent Chinese global brands in the near term--With guidance and funding from the central government, Chinese companies are pursuing a global strategy of acquiring foreign businesses. This allows them to gain both instant expertise and already-known brands, and may be the quickest path for them to own recognized global brands. Example: Lenovo, which bought IBM's personal computer division in 2005.
  • Many successful Chinese global brands will grow first in the developing world--Many Chinese companies are testing the waters in countries where they can capitalize on the appeal of low-cost products. Example: High-tech companies Huawei and ZTE have operations in Africa, India, Brazil, and several Asian countries; appliance maker Haier also has a growing business in several regions including Africa; and Li Ning has opened sporting goods stores in Bulgaria and Russia.

Social Technologies' view

  • Cashman forecasts that while Chinese brands won't overwhelm the global market in the next five years, a few will successfully shed their low-value reputation and become more closely associated with quality, distinctive design, and emotional meaning. In short, they will be branded.
  • The 2008 Olympics will be a turning point for Chinese brands. The event will propel some of China's most aggressive brands to the global stage through partnerships and sponsorships. Watch for future leaders and competitors.
  • US companies can stay ahead of aspiring Chinese firms by focusing on customer service and quality, since these are areas the Chinese have yet to fully master.

Want to learn more?
To read the entire article, browse to and download the premier issue of Change)Waves. To interview futurist John Cashman on this trend, send an email to schedule an interview.

About John Cashman:
John Cashman runs Social Technologies' office in Shanghai, China, where he reports on change in one of the fastest-changing countries on the planet. An experienced writer/ analyst, John has researched and authored dozens of reports on a wide range of future-related topics for industry, government, and associations. He also speaks frequently on topics related to lifestyles change.

About Social Technologies:
Social Technologies is a global research and consulting firm specializing in the integration of foresight, strategy, and innovation. With offices in Washington, DC, London, and Shanghai, Social Technologies serves the world's leading companies, government agencies, and nonprofits. A holistic, long-term perspective combined with actionable business solutions helps clients mitigate risk, make the most of opportunities, and enrich decision-making. For more information visit , the blog: , and our newsletter,


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