China is the second largest economy in the world, and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse!); but who's got the time?! A weekly potpourri of quick reads that will make you look like a keen China observer during any conversation about China.
This week: Elmo speaks Chinese. Apple's iPhone vs China's Millet phone. Team China hits London, and more...
Cheering song for Chinese Olympians
"China's flamboyant pianist Lang Lang teamed up Hong Kong superstar, singer-actor Jacky Cheung to record a Coca-Cola-sponsored cheer song, The Beats of China, Move The World, which should provide the Olympians with a final bit of inspiration and encouragement for the 2012 London Olympics."
Related Reading: China Predicts Fewer Olympic Medals
Olympic mascots made for LOCOG in Chinese 'sweatshop' factories
"Olympics merchandise for London 2012 is being produced in sweatshop conditions with staff earning as little as £6 a day, despite organisers promising to clean up its supply chain, according to a new report. Activists in China spoke to dozens of factory workers and discovered staff were forced to work up to 120 hours overtime a month, nearly three times the legal limit."
Related Reading: Team USA 'Made in China' Debate Ignores China's Nike-Sponsored Team
The Land of a Million Scrapped Televisions
"That other narrative, which journalists and activists in the developed world have failed to tell (for reasons of their own) is this one: China has grown rich enough to start throwing away its own e-waste. According to China’s National Development and Reform Commission, China is now throwing off 160 million appliances (computers, televisions/monitors, washing machines, air conditioners, and refrigerators) per year that must be recycled, and that number is growing by 20% annually. In other words: the scrap televisions in this warehouse were all used, and then thrown away, in China. There isn’t an imported – an allegedly dumped – scrap television in the entire lot."
Lenovo’s NFL Deal Shows Chinese Brands’ Bid for U.S. Consumers
"Now Haier and other big Chinese brands are trying again to make a splash in the U.S. Haier plans to open an research and development center in the U.S. to focus on larger-size appliances designed with American families in mind. 'That will really open the door,' Kan says. Haier is following the lead of Huizhou-based TCL, which opened an R&D center in Silicon Valley last year. The company, which started selling TVs in the U.S. under its TCL brand in 2011 (it previously made sets sold under the RCA brand), also has a research lab with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."
Chinese E-Commerce Giant Tmall Woos American Heritage Brands
"Tmall, which promotes itself as the destination for authentic products, distinguishes itself from sister sites Aliexpress and Taobao, from which Tmall separated in 2011. In contrast to former sister C2C site Taobao Marketplace — often (and somewhat inaccurately) called the Chinese eBay — where counterfeits still abound, Tmall boasts better quality control and anti-counterfeiting measures. This has been instrumental in the interest, however tentative, that some higher-end Western brands have shown in opening Tmall stores to tap China’s booming e-commerce market… Now, with eyes potentially moving towards feeding a growing Chinese hunger for 'Made in US' heritage tags, Tmall is proving to be a foil character to Aliexpress (Alibaba’s answer to the international, specifically American, interest in finding and sourcing premium products from a range of home-grown Chinese brands, hand-picked by the Alibaba team). Aimed mostly at overseas markets, Aliexpress offers a collection of “Designed in China” goods that would otherwise remain unknown to non-Chinese (and Chinese) shoppers."
Sesame Street's Elmo to start teaching Chinese in US
"Sesame Workshop CEO Melvin Ming speaks to China Daily about Sesame Street's new Chinese programming on SinoVision (a Chinese-language channel in the US), which he says will be both "authentically Sesame and authentically Chinese". The programme is now being developed for the Chinese market out of a studio in Shanghai."
Fake lawsuits behind China’s ‘famous’ brands
"Corrupt company executives get the game rolling by filing a trademark infringement lawsuit against a person hired to act as a “defendant” charged with hurting its brand image. Lawyers play along, and at least one judge accepts a payoff to rule in the plaintiff’s favor and designate the product 'famous,' raising its market value."
Related Reading: Famous Trademark Scam Lands Six Henan Judges in Jail
China perception study reveals motivations behind branded app usage
"Apps are becoming a key battleground for brands as research shows usage is up 28 per cent year-on-year among the 2,300 brand apps already available in China. Users install 41 apps on average each year."
Apple's China revenue up 48%
"Apple's revenue in China, which accounts for 20 percent of its global income, posted a growth rate of 48 percent year on year in the April-June quarter, compared with a 23 percent growth globally. Sales of iPhone jumped 100 percent year on year in China in the quarter after Apple, in partnership with China Unicom and China Telecom, launched the latest iPhone 4S in the country in the first quarter."
Related Reading: Most-recognized Handset Brand in China, Apple Ranks No.1
And Apple to postpone iPhone 5 amid undersupply of 28nm chips
...But who needs the iPhone when you've got Millet?
"Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Technology said it racked up 6.1 billion yuan ($955 million) in revenue in the first half of this year with sales of more than 3 million devices, tapping rapid growth that is fostering domestic brands and is set to make China the world's biggest smartphone market this year. Xiaomi, which means "millet" and was inspired by a revolutionary phrase of the early Chinese Communist Party, began selling high-end smartphones last October with specifications rivaling those of big global players, but at a relatively low price."
Volkswagen battles Chinese customers over glitchy gearbox
"Last month, China's General Administration of Quality Supervision responded to a group complaint lodged on March 12 by Beijing's Yingke Law Firm in which 372 Chinese Volkswagen owners claimed that their vehicle came with a faulty seven-speed DSG gearbox. The complaint named three companies — FAW-Volkswagen, Shanghai Volkswagen and Volkswagen China — and is linked to more than 10 models and over 10 million vehicles in China."