It seems like every year I hear that Chinese brands and their reputations will be going global. Apparently The Economist thinks that 2013 is the year that Chinese brands will truly go global. Their reasoning is that Chinese companies have grown as big as they can in their own country and now need to expand overseas markets. A second reason is that Chinese companies are now longer just B2B ones but are now competing with brands that are B2C that develop dynamic marketing campaigns and require different campaigns. Some of these brands that we will be introduced to in 2013 are Baidu, Haier, Tencent, and Metersbonwe. Other reasons that Chinese companies are finally going to go global include seriously building global cultures as Lenovo has and making sure that corporate entities include product names that are less complex and more recognizable. As the article says, Jianlibao which is an energy drink, had trouble expanding beyond Chinas because its name was hard to pronounce. Try Wanxiang. Global Chinese company reputations won't be easy to build regardless of how much muscle they put behind them. There is a well-entrenched perception in other regions that Chinese companies produce low quality products and are poorly governed. William Brent, a colleague of mine who helps run our Emergent China practice, was quoted in this Economist article as saying that "2013 will mark the year when Chinese multinationals come face to face with transparency." He is right. Corporate governance is a driver of strong reputations.
If this is the year of Chinese reputations, I look forward to it.