Chinese Brands Still Lacking in Recognition: MBA News |

Chinese Brands Still Lacking in Recognition: MBA News

By Tim Dhoul

Updated December 4, 2019 Updated December 4, 2019

Although Chinese brands are increasingly asserting themselves on global markets, business executives around the world are still struggling to identify them, says a London Business School survey.

One of the leading Chinese brands in consumer electronics, Hisense, was held up by way of example. Almost half of the 1,000 executives surveyed by London Business School could not identify its industry; 41% said they didn’t know and 5% wrongly guessed that Hisense produced fragrances or confectionary. 

Executives from North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia took part in the survey, conducted by London Business School’s China Business Forum.

‘Chinese brands are invisible’ says London Business School professor

“While western consumers are surrounded by products made in China, Chinese brands are invisible. China hopes Haler and Lenovo are leading the transformation to global brands from China just as Toyota and Sony did for Japan or Samsung and Hyundai did for South Korea,” said visiting professor in marketing at London Business School, Nirmalya Kumar, in a press release.

And perhaps it is only a matter of time before Chinese brands’ growing significance gains more global recognition, not just from business executives, but also among consumers. 

International executives are certainly already alive to the importance of business in China and the proliferation of opportunities emanating from the world’s second-largest market.  

In the London Business School survey, 58% thought learning Mandarin was of increasing importance to their career prospects and the school’s career services confirmed that recruiters in China are keen to find international talent with knowledge of Mandarin.

In addition, more than a quarter of those polled (28%) said they would prioritize a job posting in Shanghai over London, New York or Hong Kong as a means of advancing their career.

Challenges of business in China

Of course, business in China does not come without its challenges. The country’s regulatory systems continue to pose problems for large multinationals. In the past month alone, GlaxoSmithKline has been fined US$492 million for alleged bribery and car manufacturers, Audi and Chrysler, have fallen foul of anti-monopoly policies.

This has led some observers to question whether the rewards of doing business in China are worth the risks. However, although a perceived inconsistency regarding regulation enforcement and the scrutiny under which multinationals are placed were named as primary obstacles to doing business in China by 37% and 20% respectively in London Business School’s survey, more than three-quarters of respondents felt that conditions had improved over the past five years.

London Business School’s survey serves as a precursor to the annual conference of its China Business Forum on October 18. The school will also be hosting a careers fair dedicated to opportunities in Asia on November 1, in partnership with INSEAD, HEC Paris, IESE Business School and Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

This article was originally published in October 2014 . It was last updated in December 2019

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Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).