By: Irina Skaya
Tuesday I attended the ANA Global Learning Series on China, and the reoccurring theme across all four presentations—Chinese-made counterfeited goods—ties in well with my last blog post. Apparently Chinese-made knockoffs go beyond Gucci and Fendi. U.S. television shows like Sex and the City and Web sites like Google and YouTube also have Chinese versions. But what advertisers should be aware of when considering global marketing are copy-cat agencies. Believe it or not, but there are three copycat Ogilvy agencies in China.
Wait…wait…don’t be so skeptical of the way the Chinese conduct business. According to Alex Gordon, founder of Sign Salad, ‘Precision of copy does not compensate for the original but signifies creativity.’ That’s right—the Chinese business owners do not see counterfeited goods as an organized crime, but a master piece. I am not mentioning the above to scare off anyone who wants to do business in China, but rather note the caution of doing business there without the right resources, local vendors, and the Chinese government on your side. You need all three. Janet Carmosky, CEO of The China Business Network, even said unlike the U.S. that has a transactional business mindset, the Chinese are all about relationships or ‘Ghanxi.’ She stressed, “The Chinese created the, ‘We know where you live’ capitalism.”
Whatever the business model in China is, it works for them—the country's tech boom has created a paradigm shift from made in China to invented in China (Sandberg, executive editor, The Hardvard Business Press). The reason behind the high-tech growth is China is graduating three times the number of engineers than any other country in the world. Many of the growing digital media start-ups bring us back to the rising tide of copycats; the majority of whom were educated in the U.S. and returned to China around 1999 to take advantage of the economic explosion. Around Y2K, they began creating copycats of U.S. Internet companies like eBay, Yahoo!, Facebook, MySpace and Craigslist.
Don't forget, the Chinese don't have bad intentions when "copying and pasting;" after all, it's all about creativity. Speaking of creativity, which is a number one characteristic of an ideal agency in China, I’d like to share with you this creative commercial for Coco-Cola, one of the biggest multinational marketing veterans and power brands in China.
Coca-Cola Red Go China TV Commercial
Besides Coca-Cola, other high-profile multinational marketers that have had success in China are Nike, GE, Nokia, Procter & Gamble and Volkswagen. In conclusion, doing business in China is tough—‘although nothing in China is available, everything is possible’ (Janet Carmosky, CEO of The China Business Network).
Technorati tags: chinese marketing counterfeited Chinese-made goods Sign Salad The China Business Network R3 Tech boom in China