I was recently interviewed by Xinhua on my views on Chinese brands that are gaining recognition in Australia. Their article has now been published in China Daily, the top English language newspaper in China. The full article “Chinese brands becoming household names in Australia” can be viewed here.
My comments were as follows:
Justin Steele, founder of consultancy firm China Ready Now, told Xinhua recently that many Australians enjoy Chinese brands and products that they don’t even know are made in China.
“Whitegoods brands like Haier. They make washing machines, dryers and fridges,” Steele said.
“Lenovo is a Chinese brand of laptop which Australians might have at home or work.”
He noted that technology company Huawei has targeted several foreign markets, advertising their smart phones and watches.
I also noted that Australia has a strong reputation among Chinese consumers as being a “clean and green” destination. This reputation is one reason why Australian brands such as Blackmores, Lucas Pawpaw and Bellamy’s have done so well recently. Any Australian product that can be marketed as natural, healthy and authentic has the potential to be extremely popular amongst Chinese buyers.
Some of the other interviewees observed that the lack of knowledge by Australians of Chinese brands may have to do with the difficulty in remembering the brand’s name due to language difficulties. I have to agree, and I’ve regularly heard Australians murder the pronunciation of two of the three brands I mentioned. For future reference, Haier is pronounced almost identically to “high-er” and Huawei sounds like “hwar-way”. Not that hard right?!
I think Australians will only get more familiar with Chinese brands in the coming years as China’s economy continues to grow and mature. Chinese companies that are ramping up their Australia operations include China’s three tech giants, Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. Alibaba, for instance, recently opened an office in Australia, which perhaps unsurprisingly, received scant attention from local media. However, this development could have a huge impact on local businesses – particularly ones with the “clean and green” products Chinese consumers so desperately want. Who knows, maybe one day soon Australians won’t think of kebabs when they hear the name Alibaba!