Posted by Abe Sauer on April 29, 2013 11:46 AM
The announcement from Xinhua, China's state news agency, was almost gleefully self-congratulatory: "Apple sees global profit decline as China sales lose momentum." Despite CEO Tim Cook's declaration that it was Apple's "best quarter ever," Xinhua's report focused squarely on the slowed growth and the brand's struggles. The unspoken theme of the China state coverage: "We did it, everyone!"
Was the weeks of Apple criticism dished out by China's news agencies what slowed sales? Apple better hope it was. The alternative is far, far harder to fix.
After a couple of weeks of being criticized for discriminatory repair policies, Apple issued a formal apology to China. The damage was done though, with the original criticisms branching off to include charges of porn distribution through iTunes to a general spanking as an ostentatious luxury item that college students were taking high-interest loans with rates up to 47 percent to buy "fancy electronic products." But in state media reports on the phenomenon, the only brand name mentioned was Apple's iPhone. A month after the licking put on Apple, China's state media proclaimed victory, noting a survey—the results of which can certainly be called questionable—that found 59.9 percent of respondents said their opinions of Apple had "gone down." But other results said otherwise.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on April 12, 2013 10:53 AM
Oreo has made an unlikely pairing for it's latest China campaign, and we're not talking about green tea Oreos or the host of other local variations (ice-cream flavor, anyone?) introduced by the Nabisco division of Kraft-now-Mondelez.
It's an irony of history that Oreo's new China spokesman, film director Feng Xiaogang, was last found at the helm of Back to 1942 (一九四二), last year's three-hour, brutal epic about the Henan family that killed at least three million people.
But then again, Feng Xiaogang's career is full of little ironies. He's one of China's most popular directors of the last decade and yet almost nobody has heard of him in Hollywood. For Oreo, a western brand that has localized for the China market better than almost anyone, it makes him a perfect choice. Oreo's localization strategies like cucumber flavors and square shapes have won it press accolades and, more importantly, leagues of happy customers.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on July 12, 2012 11:01 AM
How popular is the Pepsi brand in China? Exhibit A, above is an actual photo your scribe recently took in a grocery store on Shuicheng Road, Shanghai. Having recently moved here, it's fascinating to see how the cola wars are playing out on Chinese soil.
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are competing, hard, for the 1.3 billion mouths of China for a sales boost. The latest volley: PepsiCo just opened a new "green" production facility with "the capacity to produce approximately 15,000 tons of Lay's potato chips annually." Located in the central city of Wuhan, the facility is a platform to reach into populous central and western China. But raw capacity isn't all of PepsiCo's strategy to make China an even bigger market for the Lay's brand.
Pepsi's new Wuhan plant — its sixth such facility in China — comes with all the "green" bells and whistles. Adhering to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria, the factory aims to use a third less water and a fifth less power than earlier facilities. Though China is a major polluter, Pepsi's factory is in line with a move in the country toward sustainability, for both health and financial reasons. The snack food growth focus follows closely the brand's deal with China bottler Tingyi aimed at expanding PepsiCo's reach in the nation's beverage market, expected to be the world's largest by 2015.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on January 27, 2012 02:02 PM
North Americans may grow up loving Oreo cookies, so Kraft was dismayed when Chinese consumers didn't take to the iconic cream-filled biscuit and sales in the market proved disappointing.
Rather than pull the product, Kraft decided to study the problem. Lorna Davis, head of the global biscuit division at Kraft, tells NPR that market research showed locals liked the contrast between the bitter cookie and the sugary cream, but "they said it was a little bit too sweet and a little bit too bitter."
The solution: Kraft retooled the Oreo for China, making the cookie "more chocolatey" and the cream filling "less cloying." Kraft's China division is also experimenting with new fillings such as green tea, "double fruit magic," ice-cream flavor, mini versions promoted by Yao Ming, and an orange-hued cream with shades of mango (watch some of the brand's China spots below).
Kraft is even going so far as to dispense with its traditional round cookie with a Pocky-like straw-shaped wafer. The upshot of its willingness to reinvent the brand to local tastes: by 2006 it was the best-selling cookie in China. Click here to listen to NPR's report.Continue reading...