Establishing a Competitive Chinese Brand Image in Mature Markets: An exploratory multiple case study of three Chinese brands in Western Europe

Zi Ye & Morten Chi Strøhemann

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Through the three past decades the Chinese economy has experienced rapid and consistent growth and has become the 2nd largest economy in the world. Today the Chinese economy is facing changing conditions and high growth rates alone is no longer viable for building up a strong economy in the long run. For Chinese companies this means that manufacturing is becoming less sustainable for long-term growth and global competitiveness. The research presented in this thesis is motivated by the fact that in the Western World today, very few Chinese high-tech consumer electronic brands are well-known or have succeeded in building a competitive brand image. The purpose of this study was to give insights to how Chinese companies can build up and establish a competitive brand image in mature markets. Certain patterns, relations and dynamics among the brand entry, brand awareness, and brand image have been uncovered. The research design used in this thesis was a multiple case study of three Chinese brands that all have entered the Western European market. The two main theoretical models, brand entry mode and customer-based brand equity pyramid, have been conceptualized to provide an initial base for the findings. Relations among three trade-off criteria – speed, control, and investment in brand entry modes have been investigated. Based on our findings, speed is most important in order to effectively build up brand awareness. Entering into partnerships with well-established local companies proved to help increase the speed of brand awareness creation. Control has been identified to influence the brand image positively according to the brand aims, given that it is efficient control. To achieve efficient control the Chinese companies need to have accumulated sufficient international knowledge and know-how relative to the degree of control they have. Over time when substantial brand awareness has been built up, the companies’ degree of control should be increased in order to build their own distinctive brand image, though no clear indications were found for when this is optimal to start doing. Both for creating brand awareness and brand image the findings indicate that brand acquisition of an established brand in the mature market were the most effective way for the Chinese companies to enter their brand into the Western European market.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2012
Number of pages164