Chinese brand products, caught between an opening market and domestic
consumers who prefer foreign goods, are facing challenges, despite the
remarkable progress in quality, experts say.
China Central Television business program anchor Rui Chenggang
wrote on his weblog that he only buys and drives domestic cars in China, after
hearing the head of a German carmaker comment in an interview five years ago
that he would flush Chinese cars down the toilet if they were sold in Germany.
Discrimination against domestic brands comes from not just foreigners, but
also Chinese citizens. A CCTV program on January 12 reported that
Meters-Bonwe, a domestic leisure wear producer, was forced to close a flagship
boutique on Shanghai's Huaihai Street, giving way to a foreign brand fashion
shop according to a municipal scheme of making the street an international top
Handout file photo of a Chinese self-developed Huachen
Grandeur sedan from China Automotive Company Ltd. Huachen
cars have entered German market since late 2006.
Shenzhen's world-acclaimed digital conference system producer Techlast, has
seen their products used in United Nations, World Bank and APEC conferences, but
as it is a domestic Chinese company, it still cannot enter the Shenzhen
exhibition center public bidding roster.
Government and individual bias against domestic products has long been an
issue in China, starting with the fascination with foreign goods during the
opening up of the Chinese market. However, experts say the devotion to foreign
products is a blind one.
CCTV anchor Jing Yidan said on her program that Chinese usually mistake
foreign brands with world-acclaimed brands, assuming that all foreign products
are high quality. Shanghai Meters-Bonwe sales manager Zhou Wenrong said the
new shop taking Meters-Bonwe's place on Huaihai Street is just an ordinary brand
and isn't recognizable.
Rui Chenggang, who has interviewed over 300 worldwide chairpersons and CEOs
of Fortune 500 companies, told chinadaily.com.cn he saw his domestic brand car
as a "vehicle of national pride", and would also "give other home products a
chance" to compete with foreign brands.