Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

China’s quest for world-beating brand held back by regime [Guardian] #RisingChina #Branding

Brand China: Hamstrung by regime or perception divide?

We get these endless things from the government saying there should be more innovation and brand building… But there isn’t anything behind it. The problem is that no one really wants to invest in innovative design. It’s very market-led. So if reports come to the stores that red shirts are selling, they’ll tell their in-house designers to design more red shirts. This means the designers don’t get a chance to do anything… They spent 60 years driving creativity out of the system. To reintroduce it in 10 minutes is a bit hopeful.” Paul French, chief China market strategist at market research firm Mintel.

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China’s quest for world-beating brand held back by regime
Selling Chinese-label goods at home is one thing: but to gain global recognition, the country must rediscover the arts of creativity and risk-taking
Jonathan Kaiman in Beijing
Source – The Observer, Guardian online, published Sunday 1 September 2013

20130903-084625.jpg
Robin Li, the founder and chief executive of leading Chinese search engine Baidu. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

China is the world’s second-largest economy but it has yet to develop the breakthrough global brand that will consolidate its status as a true commercial superpower. The names of Chery, Xiaomi and Baidu are synonymous with cars, mobile phones and internet search in China but they do not resonate abroad in the way that Ford, Samsung and Google straddle the globe. Likewise, there is no Chinese equivalent of Sony, Boeing or Coca-Cola, despite the ambition of the political hierarchy to convert a nation of 1.3bn people into a consumption-driven juggernaut.

That lack of a worldwide champion means that Made in China lacks prestige as a label, despite the country’s importance as the world’s factory floor, making everything from iPads to Topshop garments. And that reputation as a global manufacturing hub is one of the problems, nurturing a perception that China is synonymous with cheap, low-quality goods. Newspaper headlines in the west declaim stories about China’s toxic baby milk, lead-contaminated toys and fake pharmaceuticals.

But this is changing, as China’s leaders force that economic shift from export-based growth to consumer spending. They are pumping money into research and development so that Chinese brands can compete with foreign rivals in a burgeoning domestic market. Furthermore, many of these companies have taken that baton and are running towards foreign markets, with the hope that global success will result. Much of the push comes in the form of state subsidies – according to the state-run China Daily newspaper, the country spent £105bn on research and development last year.

Please click here to read the entire article at the source.

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Filed under: Advertising, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, Media, Modernisation, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade

SINOGRAPH – Stillness conquers heat (on Lao Zi) [Asia Times]

This is a great read if one wishes to delve deeper into the Chinese mind.

Although Confucianism (more facets than the complete teachings) has been arguably chosen as contemporary China’s public face, Tao (as first expounded by Lao Zi and pre-dates Confucianism by a century) helps explains the Chinese fascination with harmony, good form, and ultimately balance – leading to the middle path.

I must note though that this alludes to Tao in its original form, a set of wisdom passed down from the ages; not popular Taoism as we might see today in its religious form.

In history, however, Lao Zi’s teaching have been known to be embraced by anti-authoritarian movements in Chinese dynastic history. So.

In a world growing in the export of Chinese cultural capital, the current set of self evident cross-pollination are locked into Confucianism and its meritocratic emphasis on hierarchy, Fengshui (a component of Tao), Zen, Kung Fu and of course, a voracious work ethic capable of offering good margins. If practicing what one preaches is good measure, I am not sure if Tao institutes are the way to go. But what is evident from China’s rise is a tilt towards polarity – economic growth alone, and having a say in the conditions for that growth, is arguably the Chinese imperative today. The Chinese have to remember what Tao is first, before they share and pass on the word.

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SINOGRAPH – Stillness conquers heat
By Francesco Sisci
Source – Asia Times, published September 2, 2010

BEIJING – Laozi parts ways with Confucius, as they have different interests in the world and in their thinking. Laozi moves west from the great plains of central China to the borders of the Chinese civilization, and to the state of Qin, because “if the sun rises from the East, people came from the West”, reasons Laozi.

In the state of Qin, where customs and manners are still not as corrupted as in the smaller and more ancient states of the central plain, the local people are struck by Laozi, a man with white hair but still with the face of a boy, untouched by the passing of time. They talk with him and then are sure that this man can help them to be great.

So starts Laozi’s Biography, a quasi novel by Yu Shicun that deals with the other half of the Chinese soul, the darker and more ethereal side of the Chinese binary system of yin and yang. On one side sits the Confucian method and practical mind, and on the other towers the fascination with nature and mysteries harkened in the ancient cryptic verses of Laozi, a central figure in Taoism, who, according to Chinese tradition, lived in the 6th century BC. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Asia Times Online, Chinese Model, Confucius, Culture, Environment, Greater China, Influence, Lifestyle, Population, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Tao

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