Business / View

Zeaplus makes a big splash with innovative branding

By Mike Bastin (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-30 09:35

Millward Brown's annual survey of the world's most valuable brands, BrandZ, recently revealed the rapid rise of Chinese brands, especially high-tech ones such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd.

But many small and medium-sized high-tech enterprises and brands are also gaining ground, which should not come as a surprise amid the transformation in corporate culture taking place across large parts of Chinese industry.

Technological advancement has been matched by an infusion of innovation and creativity that reaches deep into the marketing and brand-building processes. And no high-tech corporate SME brand in China is a better example of this than a little-known firm called Zeaplus.

The Shenzhen-based Zeaplus has burst on to the scene with the unveiling of its relatively inexpensive wristband fitness tracker brand, the Zeaplus Band. The company's brand awareness was until recently so low that social media postings contended the brand had to be a new addition to an established competitor's product portfolio, most likely Xiaomi Corp.

The Zeaplus Band, however, is price competitive with Xiaomi while offering impressive features such as counting steps and monitoring sleep time. Most impressive is the device's OLED touch display screen.

Xiaomi's seemingly impregnable position in the Chinese mainland market suddenly faced intense competition, but a win-win for the Chinese consumer and the Chinese economy. This also signals a surge in Chinese technology brands at all levels of organization size.

There may now be a more than critical mass of domestically and internationally competitive Chinese technology brands, which is contributing to a multiplier effect in the emergence of smaller and even more ambitious Chinese competitors.

All of China's trail-blazing and internationally established technology brands have emerged in a very short period, and most have been led by charismatic founders such as Jack Ma at Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The Zeaplus Band has benefited from this cluster of pioneering Chinese high-tech brands, and the magnetic personalities of their leaders must also have driven entrepreneurial spirits in China. Zeaplus will fuel this energy and excitement across the SME sector, which should lead to the emergence of more intrepid high-tech rivals. Soon will be gone the vicious circle of low cost and low prices coupled with low investment and innovation. Instead we will see a virtuous circle of investment and innovation, high-tech quality and premium branding.

A new army of technologically sophisticated Chinese SMEs will soon be on an unstoppable march. First China then the world.

The author is a visiting professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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