Marketing Monday: The Prospects for Asian Brands

In the Hutong
Sitting on the heater
0935 hrs.

Benjamin Li starts the year off with a quick look at the prospects for Asian brands in a thought-provoking piece in Media Asia. (Tip of the Silicon hat to Casper Oppenhuis de Jong).

“A major prediction this year has been that the next globally-recognized brands would come out of Asia’s emerging markets, reflecting the shift in global economic power from the West. But over a year since the Western economies crashed, where are these brands?”

Where indeed.

Reading through my comments and those Benjamin gleaned from others in the business, the simple answer is that while Asian (read non-Japanese, non Korean) brands had the motive and opportunity to leap onto the world stage last year, they lacked the ability to do so. Those of us who predicted that 2009 would be the year of the Asian (read “Chinese”) brand overestimated the the ability of those brands to execute, to size up and seize the opportunity in such a short period of time.

Nonetheless, I suspect we will look back on 2009 as the year that China’s brands began to see the potential of being more than just Chinese brands, and a year that something changed in the psyche of an entire generation of future Chinese business leaders. China’s managerial thirty-somethings no longer think about “if” China will have global brands, but about how to get them there.

The results may not show up for a while, but something important has begun.