SINGAPORE (May 14): In the past, Chinese companies had no brand to speak of and were seen as inferior cousins that were merely modelled after foreign players entering a nascent market with a huge potential for consumption. Most of the local players were original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) creating white-label products designed by their foreign brand partners.

The Chinese players had no budget or the requisite know-how to market their products or create brand awareness. Neither did they possess the technology or invest in R&D. They lacked strong management and access to capital. On the other hand, foreign players, with their substantial budgets, already had established brands and were miles ahead in marketing their products.

However, things are now changing. In the home appliances market, for instance, European or Japanese brands used to dominate the China market but now, local players are catching up. In terms of sales value, Chinese company Midea Group Co is No 1 globally while Haier Electronics Group and Gree Electric Appliances are fifth and sixth respectively. China brands are not only increasingly popular domestically, but also gaining ground globally.

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