The Conquest of the West : Chinese brands inside the Las Vegas CES

February 2, 2015

China hasn’t waited for the 48th edition of the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to be rewarded as a global best-in-class player  in terms of technological innovation in consumer electronics. But if “made in China” products and gadgets have long since invaded American (and the world) homes,  according to Millward Brown research company, only 6% of Americans can name a single Chinese brand. And Interbrand 2014 “Best 100 Global Brands” only showed Huawei, ranked 94th. Did the CES mark a new step?

“Created in China” is the new “Made in China”

According to Thomson Reuters, if proof were needed of the impact of government policy to promote and stimulate innovation in an economy, no need to look further than China. Year after year, the patent application filings volumes experienced double-digit growth and domestic demand now exceeds the demands of foreign deposits, with a ratio of 3 to 1. The Chinese domestic innovation is first based and driven by government initiatives to bring out the creativity of Chinese companies and lay the foundation for a knowledge economy, rather than manufacturing. For the first time since the launch of Thomson Reuters’ Top 100 Global Innovators, “Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China, dominate the landscape of innovation. China has expanded its R & D to all companies working tax credit in key areas of technology (biotechnology, information technology and communication, other high-tech fields, among others)

Last September in Tianjin, the theme of the “World Economic Forum Annual Summit” Young Global Leaders was “Creating Value Through Innovation”. The “Made in China” is becoming more sophisticated. And if the first generation of Chinese tech start-ups especially involved internet and copies of Western websites, the second one follows the explosion of China’s online consumption and mobile economy: crowdfunding, taxis apps, health or finance, including the launch in recent weeks of Webank , the first online private bank, majority owned (30%) by Tencent (Alibaba and Baidu who also obtained the necessary licenses, could follow)

5 Chinese Companies within The “Global Top Brands”

ZTE, Huawei, Alibaba, Hisense, TCL, Lenovo, Haier, Changhong, the Great Wall, BOE, Xiaomi … all the Chinese leaders were there, in mobility, television, household appliances, computers ….
Hisense is China n°1 brand, but it doesn’t matter how much we succeed there. The US and Europe are the two key regons where we need to be successful, otherwise we can not claim ourselves as a global brand” said Lan Lin, executive vice president

Hisense Advertising on doors and platforms of the Las Vegas Monorail (photo: Don Clark / The Wall Street Journal)

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Huawei, the third largest smartphone maker after Apple and Samsung, as ZTE Mobile Devices, have each received 4 IDG (International Data Group) awards at the ceremony of “Global Top Brands Awards”. That of “Global Smart Connected Devices Top 10”, of “Global Top 10 Smart Phones”, of “Global Top 50 Consumer Electronic Brands” and of “Top 10 Brands From China”.

ZTE plans to export 60 million smartphones in 2015

ZTE is working hard to change the stereotype that a Chinese brand is cheap and of low quality” according to Waiman Lam, senior director for mobile technology and partnership. ZTE has exported 48 million smartphones in 2014, and plans 60 million for 2015, making progress in markets such as the US, Asia Pacific and Europe, and also sells more smartphones in the US, than Sony or Nokia.

Michael Friedenberg, CEO of IDG Communications said “this year’s awards recognize ZTE’s strong brand and product range which demonstrates its position as a global leader in the age of smart connectivity and mobile internet

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Chinese startups to the conquest of the West

Premier Li Keqiang committed himself to promote entrepreneurship. However, this is a relatively new concept, and traditional Chinese culture is still influenced by Confucian values, such as respect for authority, not naturally compatible with the typical entrepreneurial values. Beyond the need for a major educational program, successful entrepreneurs like Jack Ma (Alibaba), “Pony” Ma Huateng (Tencent), Robin Li (Baidu), or more recently Lei Jun (Xiaomi), who contributed to the economic transformation of the country, influence and participate in the momentum

Rebecca Fannin, Silicon Dragon Founder, “heard a lot about Mandarin” in the CES halls, has especially noticed the start-ups: they think big, gain confidence and seem to have little doubt about their ability to grow outside of China. Among them for Rebecca Fannin, drone “Ghost” by Ehang sold $ 600, can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet, without remote control and requires only one click to take off or land. (watch the video here). Or mobile designed accessories by Lepow (speaker, shells for batteries, connected bags, etc.)

EHANG’s “Ghost” Drone (Photo by Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

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The Lepow Rain: Waterproof speaker

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Reduce the gap with the World Leaders

According to Interbrand, the reason why Chinese brands are facing so many challenges, are great and operationally, but fundamentally weak, is the gap on the authenticity, relevance and differentiation compared to the most influential and powerful global brands in the world. Quickly reduce the gap is the goal of Chinese brands in search of recognition, the CES has certainly highlighted, with the presence of 1  out of 4 Chinese exhibitors

Alibaba robot


Alibaba, one of the heavyweights of the Chinese internet whose scope continues to expand thanks to the millions gleaned during its IPO, has chosen … a robot to introduce its business. A robot who also danced salsa. As a prelude to the big party the CES Asia 1st edition should be, next May 25-27 in Shanghai, China, the first world economic power.


Laure Carayon

This article has been published in french: “Au CES de Las Vegas, 1 exposant sur 4 était chinois” on Frenchweb






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