Opinion / From the Press

First ladies' soft power

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-08 08:38

It's smart for the first ladies to promote domestic brands by displaying home-made products on diplomatic occasions, as this will boost their countries' image and enhance soft power, says an article in Beijing News. Excerpts:

Accompanying her husband Xi Jin-ping on his trip to Europe, Peng Liyuan was spotted taking photos with a Nubia smartphone designed by ZTE, which is based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. It is not the first time Peng has promoted Chinese brands while accompanying her husband on official visits. Most of her dresses, accessories as well as the gifts she gives during such trips are made-in-China products.

Also, foreign dress codes can be applied to the first lady's outfit to show respect to the country she visits. For instance, Michelle Obama met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in an Indian-style outfit, and when she visit-ed China she wore clothes with Chinese elements, which added local color to her public diplomacy.

The title of first lady is not an official title, but the first ladies can always play a special role in boosting the image of their countries. Peng taking photos with a Chinese made phone not only gives publicity to the product and the brand, it also contains unique cultural connotations that boost the country's soft power.

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