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Electronics need better image, quality

Updated: 2013-12-25 09:20
By Gao Yuan ( China Daily)

Goods suffer from poor perception of European customers, report finds

Nearly half of European customers are willing to buy electronics made by Chinese companies, Google Inc said on Tuesday after researching five major economies on the continent.

The biggest impressions of made-in-China devices in European markets are that they are cheap and but do not have good quality, according to the United States search engine provider.

Electronics need better image, quality

Most of the interviewees said they do not consider which country the manufacturer came from when buying an electronic device while 10 percent said they would not consider Chinese brands.

The survey added that leading Chinese manufacturers, such as Haier Group, Lenovo Group Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, should pay more attention to image building in the coming years.

Google interviewed customers from five key European markets including the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

"A low price tag could be an advantage for Chinese vendors when building market share," said Charles Feng, senior account manager of Large Customer Sales at Google China.

"But for those who intend to lift their brand positioning and tap into the higher-end buyers group, selling cheap products is definitely not an impression a company wants to leave with customers," said Feng.

Huawei, a Shenzhen-based telecom equipment maker, is looking to Europe's smartphone market for profit growth.

As of the end of September, Huawei was the world's third-largest smartphone manufacturer in terms of market share, according to a report by International Data Corp, a US market research, analysis and advisory firm specializing in information technology and telecommunications. Huawei controls about 5 percent of the global market share while industry leaders, Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc, have more than 40 percent of the market.

In June, Huawei released its flagship smartphone Ascend P6 in London in a bid to lure more high-end buyers in the region.

The Chinese company also promised to hire 5,500 new employees in Europe over the next five years.

Lenovo, the world's largest personal computer vendor, is entering the continent with tablets.

Company Senior Vice-President Liu Jun said Lenovo's Yoga series tablets are "making good progress" in western Europe since their release in November.

The Beijing-based enterprise is quickly winning buyers in Europe and North America, although Yang Yuanqing, its chief executive officer, pledged to enter the "mainstream markets" after 2015.

Electronic manufacturers from China should carefully plan their branding strategy when entering a developed market such as Europe, said Feng.

"Most Chinese companies are keeping a close eye on the annual earnings that their branding investments can make. Meanwhile, Samsung and other industry leaders are more willing to make long- term investments, a smarter move for corporate image building," according to Feng.

Companies from the Chinese mainland may add to branding investments in the coming year because their businesses are showing a strong upswing. Taiwan companies, however, are more cautious when approving investment budgets because of their struggling sales performance.

In addition, Google's survey showed a distinctive market difference among European nations.

German buyers like to purchase the best-quality devices and are willing to compromise on product design.

But customers from France are more likely to get a good-looking smartphone although it may not be the fastest.

"Manufacturers from China have to notice such demand differences before shipping their products to the target market," said Feng.