Marketing China

New plotline for Chinese brands

Audiences who went to movie theaters this summer to see Transformers 3 viewed fast-paced action, dazzling special effects--and Chinese brands. One robot, named Brains, is disguised as a Lenovo notebook computer. Little-known (at least to Western audiences) Chinese dairy giant Yili gets a plug, as do two other Chinese companies.

China has yet to develop many global brands; Lenovo is one of the few exceptions. That may soon change. As wages rise, Chinese firms are losing their low-cost advantage. In order to compete, they must start developing their own innovative products, backed by sassy marketing and respected brands.

That transition, however,...

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