Observation 5: Digital leaders reflect shift in the notion of Brand China
Two categories represent over half of the brands and the Brand Power
Consumer electronics, a category of established brands, and mobile gaming, a category of Internet-driven brands, lead the BrandZ™ Top 30 Chinese Export Brands in both number of brands represented and Brand Power contributed. Together, these categories account for more than half of the Top 30 brands and 59 percent of the ranking Brand Power.
The consumer electronics brands are scattered throughout the Top 30, although three appear in the Top 5: Lenovo, Huawei, and Xiaomi. The mobile gaming brands are mostly clustered lower in the ranking, although Elex ranks Number 4.
This composition reflects the transformation of Brand China, which consumers abroad increasingly associate with innovative digital devices. Many of these brands are start-ups launched relatively recently by young entrepreneurs. Fewer established categories appear in the ranking, which includes three airlines and one car brand, for example.
Some of the newer brands reversed the usual export process by starting in overseas country markets. Sometimes the brands only conducted business abroad, while in other instances they eventually entered China, but only after achieving overseas success. By following this sequence, many of these brands benefited from the Internet’s easy access to overseas markets, and then leveraged their stature as global brands to impress Chinese consumers.
There is more than one way for Chinese brands to expand internationally. Chinese consumer electronics brands have done a good job of product innovation and international marketing. Some started as OEMs, making products for western brands, and grew both organically and through acquisition in an effort to follow the overseas expansion arc of Japanese and Korean electronics brands. The gaming brands have benefited from easy market entry because of the Internet, and easy access to a global audience of young gamers.