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Keys for Chinese Companies Going Global: Channels, Branding, Narratives | Insights


Chongqing - On May 18, Bridging News interviewed Cao Hu, Global Partner and China and Singapore CEO of Kotler Marketing Group (KMG). Cao emphasized that Chinese companies expanding globally must establish distribution channels, build brands, and master cross-cultural narratives for overseas consumers.

Cao observed that overseas expansion is a relatively unfamiliar field for most Chinese SMEs, and they often face challenges like understanding local markets and consumers' real demands. "Chinese SME entrepreneurs must learn how to set up different channels to reach the end users," said Cao. "They have to learn how to build a brand and tell a story relevant to the local consumers."

Cao continued that transitioning from production experts to consumer experts, understanding market needs, and developing a keen sense of product design, product definition, and industrial design are essential for a company to "go aboard."

"The most important thing for Chinese SME entrepreneurs is to do something, learn something, optimize something, and then repeat this process," said Cao. "I think you will get better and better results."

In the interview, Cao detailed KMG's journey as a global marketing strategy firm based in Washington, DC. Over 40 years, KMG has served 377,145 companies across 17 industries, including EVs, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, and AI. He emphasized the role of technology in globalizing Chinese companies.

He also explained the concepts of "unicorn" vs. "zebra" companies, noting that many Chinese firms adopt the zebra model, aiming for balanced growth that benefits both their business and the community.

Cao highlighted successful international expansions by Chinese companies like NIO, Alibaba, and Mengniu Dairy. NIO's rapid growth in Europe and Southeast Asia, Alibaba's eco-friendly and culturally sensitive e-commerce platform, and Mengniu Dairy's investment in sustainable facilities and farmer support exemplify Chinese companies' commitment to global growth and sustainability.

He expressed optimism about Chinese companies' global future, noting their evolution from low-cost producers to tech-driven global brands. Companies like Huawei, NIO, and Alibaba contribute to both the Chinese economy and global prosperity.

The 2024 Land-Sea Economic Forum, themed "China, an Opportunity: New Era of Brand Globalization," was held at the Chongqing Yuelai International Convention Center on the same day. The forum hosted over 200 guests from over 20 countries, including Singapore, the United States, Argentina, Germany, Serbia, Pakistan, and Nepal. They explored global industry shifts, providing companies with fresh insights and strategies for international expansion.


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