Global brands need an “attitude” adjustment.
For decades they’ve sourced in China, seeing the country and its people as nothing more than cheap, available labor for Western retail.
In the 2021 global innovation rankings, China comes in 3rd behind Korea and Japan.
Not that Korea or Japan aren’t phenomenally innovative. They are.
But do these surveys capture the SCALE of output of China’s engineering workforce in nearly all tech defining our near future?
I haven’t heard anything about 1000’s of Korean or Japanese firms advancing AI, IoT, Robotics or Clean Tech ANYTHING like China is.
Let’s not even mention the digital economy, the most “visible” innovation cluster from China.
Do they count the massive tech ecosystems like Alibaba, Tencent or Bytedance pioneering all new forms of human interaction?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t use a SINGLE application or tech or way-of-doing-things on my phone originating from Korea or Japan.
Japan and Korea haven’t pioneered a SINGLE major digital technology or industry-defining ecosystem used by billions of people.
What about China’s massive “maker” economy?
Heavy government investment in “leapfrog” technology and future-fit urban development policy?
I have NO IDEA how China isn’t #1 by a large margin on these surveys.
That’s a shame.
In my experience, being dismissive or neglectful is the root cause of failure for brands entering China.
Their products aren’t competitive and can be easily replicated. They aren’t distinctive or interesting in any way. And they care so little about service.
They focus on the quarterly win instead of the long haul to durable advantage over local rivals.
That would require a level of seriousness, commitment and investment very few are prepared to make.
The day Western brands genuinely start “making for China” may only come when Chinese brands finally begin to eat their cake at home.
That day is coming soon to a theatre near you.