Shanghai hosts 3-day fair to drive China's brands forward

Government officials pledged further measures to help homegrown companies grow their brands as the first International Forum on China Brand Development wrapped up in Shanghai.

Government officials pledged further measures to help homegrown companies grow their brands as the first International Forum on China Brand Development wrapped up in Shanghai yesterday.

As the country is pushing forward with its strategy of shifting from Made in China to Branded in China, and from China Speed to China Quality, industry watchers and entrepreneurs from the public and private sector shared their views on how domestic brands can become stronger and play a bigger role in the global landscape.

The forum is part of a three-day fair, which opened yesterday and attracted 17,565 visitors.

“Chinese companies shall better leverage the Belt and Road Initiative to seek more international cooperation to extend their global footprint and at the same time learn from their overseas counterparts’ good practices,” Vice Premier Hu Chunhua said in his keynote speech. 

“Local brands shall also take the chance of China’s further opening-up to tap overseas markets, and we shall also let the market play a major role in fostering leading Chinese brands,” he added.

Nian Yong, director of the coordination division of the National Development and Reform Commission, urged enterprises to focus on enhancing quality and that only through long-term efforts of building trustworthy quality can they become highly recognized brands.

The expo, hosted by the NDRC jointly with the Communist Party of China’s publicity department, and the ministries of agriculture and commerce, is the first of its kind after the State Council last year designated a Chinese Brands Day to be held on May 10 each year.

The fair is hosting 600 brands, including about 100 startup brands from both the public and private sectors.

According to data by Alibaba’s retail site Tmall, in sectors such as furniture, home appliance, construction and decoration materials and accessories, Chinese brands held a 70 percent market share in 2017, while in sporting goods, consumer electronics, and personal care and beauty products, they lag behind their imported counterparts.

Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group’s chief executive, told the afternoon session of the forum that boom in online retail is being boosted by China’s reform and opening-up, as well as the development of digital technologies.

“We will help more Chinese companies to deepen their digitalization process and help them adopt digital measures to transform their business models in the new era and eventually bring their brands to the global stage,” Zhang said.

The combined value of the top 100 brands in China recorded a 23 percent rise to US$557.1 billion in 2017, the largest annual increase since the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands index was first published in 2014.

Overall, the combined value of China’s top 100 brands has climbed 80 percent over the past five years, outpacing global average growth of 27 percent.

In supporting state-owned and private companies to grow their brands, China expects them to pursue corporate responsibility as well as profits.

Sha Nansheng, deputy director of the Science and Technology Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said that China’s industry, though large in size, lags in quality and that the ministry would work to enhance higher value-added industry with strong competitiveness in the industrial value chain.

“We will also focus on fostering industry clusters that fully reflect the area’s expertise and specialty features and at the same time follow the scientific rules while providing guidance for more industrial companies to build up their own brands,” Sha added.

Intellectual property right protection is also seen as a vital step in building and keeping strong brands.

Chen Wentong, deputy director of the Trademark Office of the State Intellectual Property Office, pledged that the organization would continue to protect intellectual property rights of trademarks and will also step up the crackdown on intellectual property breaches such as counterfeiting well-known brands.

Last year, the office looked into 30,100 trademark related breaches in China and issued penalties totaling 470 million yuan (US$74 million).

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