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"Made in China" label can fly high: Italian expert

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-09-11 09:48

ROME - The "made in China" label has the potential to gain a top reputation in global trade, an Italian management and marketing professor told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Michele Costabile, director of the master of science in marketing at the Rome-based LUISS University, said China can rely on technological innovation to improve the quality of its products and to move upward in the industrial value chain.

The enhancement of "made in China" perception, he suggested, can be designed as a "repositioning strategy" especially focused on markets where the Asian country already has a consolidated strong relationship or where the "made in" competition is weaker.

"The right solution could be to invest on relatively new products compared to those historically connected with other countries, hopefully tech-intensive, which can spread a positive perception on all the made-in-China products," Costabile said.

In his view, new brands could be launched in order to accomplish the goal of a "2.0 manufacturing nation," or a sort of "Chinese second wave" qualified by technologies and innovation.

Regarding those product categories that are difficult to place on the very high end of the world market, they could be upgraded from "low cost" to "smart value," meaning goods with very low prices but much higher quality and technologies, the professor said. Such products can be very successful both in emerging and consolidated markets, especially in times of economic crisis.

Last but not least, Costabile added, China should try to develop "love brands," or brands full of symbolism and emotions that customers pay for.

How to reach such ambitious goals? A crucial point is the cross-generational corporate governance changes met by the Chinese family businesses after 30 years of fast economic growth in their country, Costabile noted.

In fact, China's family businesses can benefit from the experiences of companies which have the same problems in other countries to outline the "recipe" to address these changes that is quite easy though very difficult to apply, he highlighted.

Three are the core ingredients, according to Costabile. The youngest family members should receive top high levels of education, in part abroad, and possibly have a work experience in other companies to enlarge their skills and professional abilities.

"Finally, the complex and risky journey of the generational change should be always supported by external advisors," he added.

Important steps to support the upgrading of the "made in China" label should be made by government representatives in selecting products, technologies and markets which boast comparative and relative advantages, the professor told Xinhua.

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