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Chinese Manufacturers that became Global Brands

By Jesus David Cano Romano
June 24, 2015


China is passing through a series of changes in its economy underlined under the “New Normal” tag, during the last year Chinese rulers have established a series of reforms to help the economy shape its new path: One belt- One Road, Made in China 2025, Manufacturing 4.0, are just a few of those promising reforms that will reshape the way we know China Manufacturing, helping more Made in China Brands to be Globally recognised.

Some brands had already took the lead in this new rally of getting Global and synonym of innovative and high quality goods, here’s a list of Chinese Manufacturers well known around the globe, that had started to break the scheme of Chinese Made products being known as copycats or low end quality products.

 

1. LENOVO

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Founded in 1984 by Liu Chuanzhi, started with a group of 10 engineers with a limited budget of 200,000 yuan approx. The company had a very humble origin, starting out in a small one-story bungalow in Beijing. Initial business mainly consisted of distributing foreign computers to Chinese households and installing them. Yuanqing joined the company as an intern and used to deliver computers by bicycle.

Lenovo had many failed ventures as a start up – it failed in its attempt to import televisions and market digital watches. The first success happened was when a circuit board was developed. The board enabled IBM personal computers to process Chinese characters. Liu stated that at the time Lenovo consisted of only scientists who knew nothing about marketing what they developed.

The team was forced to learn through a trial and error method. Liu was granted permission by the Government to start a subsidiary in Hong Kong. Those initial years were really hard and Liu and his co-workers walked instead of taking public transportation to save money.

Lenovo made a name for itself in the domestic market once it started selling computers using its own brand name in the 1990’s. Lenovo’s IPO was massively oversubscribed as Liu and the other managers were ignorant of the terms. They were unaware of the fact that a public offering meant he and the Board of Directors were accountable to the shareholders.

Lenovo always wanted to be seen as a global company and not just a Chinese one. The company was originally known as ‘Legend’ but Yang Yuanqing decided to change it to ‘Lenovo’. This is basically a combination of ‘Le’ (from Legend) and ‘novo’ (which is a Latin word meaning new). By displaying the image of a global company, Lenovo wanted people to realise that they were good enough to compete internationally and not just with Chinese companies.

Lenovo has a corporate culture very different from that of other Chinese companies. They are headquartered at China and US. English is diligently spoken in Lenovo headquarters. Yang made it his personal mission to see that Lenovo became a friendly place for foreigners to work with.

Lenovo’s vision for the future is to transform the world through its innovative technology. As its Thinkpad slogan says, “For those who do”, Lenovo wants to become a company that ‘does’ and not just ‘thinks’.

The kind of focus on building a strong foundation will last through the generations to come. The story of Lenovo is remarkable – one can achieve anything in life that they set their heart and mind to.

 

2. HUAWEI

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Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is a multinational networking and telecommunications equipment company based out of China. The company is headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong. Huawei is the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world.

The company was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, an ex-military officer. It was merely formed as a private company. The main mission of the company was to provide consulting and operations services to most of the enterprises in China and outside the country. The company has around 140,000 employees working. 46% of the employees are involved in research & development.

Huawei is a collective company now and not privately owned anymore. By the year 2010, 80% of the top 50 telecom companies worked with Huawei. Some of the prominent partners include Motorola, Vodafone, Talk Talk, T-mobile, Clear wire, Bell Canada, etc.

There are around 3 core business units in the company, Telecom Carrier Networks, Enterprise Business and Devices or manufacturing communication devices. The enterprise business unit of the company started in the year 2011. There are a number of network technologies provided by Huawei for telecommunication operators.

The company offers mobile and fixed soft switches as well. The device division of the company provides white label products. The products include embedded modules, USB modems, wireless gateways, etc.

As of the end of 2014, Huawei’s products and services are deployed in over 170 countries, serving more than one third of the world’s population. With more than 20 years of rich business expertise in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, an extensive global network, vast global business operations and partners, Huawei Consumer BG is dedicated to bringing the latest technology to consumers, offering a world of possibilities, creating extraordinary experiences and realizing dreams for people everywhere.

 

The firm is the first Chinese brand to break into the ranks of the top 100 best global brands, according to Interbrand.

 

3. HTC

 

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Chinese are known for their diligence, strategy and hard work. And a company that truly reflects these principles is HTC Corporation. The success of HTC is an inspiration to all companies who aspire to reach the pinnacle of success and believe in customer delight. The brand has always been renowned for its quality products and putting the customer’s needs and requirements first.

There aren’t too many women entrepreneurs in the world and the few that are there have managed to capture the imagination and achieve greater success than their male counterparts. Even HTC owes its initial success to a woman. Cher Mi Wang partnered H.T. Cho and Peter Chou to establish an amazing technology company that started pushing the boundaries of technology to create award-winning and modern mobile devices.

HTC has always been a far-thinking company that has an uncanny ability to look into the future and come up with products that most companies may not even have thought of. With its futuristic brilliance, HTC has been instrumental in coming out with state-of-the-art personal digital assistants (PDAs) and smartphones. These devices offer professionals and individuals an all-in-one device that functions as a laptop, mobile phone and even a mobile phone as well as digital camera.

However, success did not come easy. The company’s initial years were difficult and Cher Mi Wang had to pour in a lot of her personal wealth into the company to build a solid engineering and designing team. This gamble paid off and today, the company boasts of an innovative and creative team that comes up with mobile devices that are elegant, sophisticated, modern and functional.

HTC focuses on value-addition and innovation. The company has proved time and again that self confidence, ambition and drive are what make it different and special. These have been the stepping stones to international popularity.

HTC thrives by the power of innovation. It created HTC’s Magic Labs, a Center for developing innovative breakthrough products guaranteed to change the world of technology in the years to come.

HTC believes that success starts where it ends – with the customer. Even today, every device is crafted to suit customer’s multiple needs. This is truly inspirational for companies that want to make customer service an art form.

 

4. ONEPLUS

 

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OnePlus is a Chinese manufacturer of smartphones founded in December 2013. It is headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China.

The OnePlus company was founded by former Oppo vice president Pete Lau. According to government documentation, the only institutional stockholder in OnePlus is Oppo, although Lau has denied that OnePlus is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oppo. The company’s main goal was to design a smartphone that would balance high-end quality with a lower price than other phones in its class, believing that users would “never settle” for the lower-quality devices produced by other companies. Lau explained that “we will never be different just for the sake of being different. Everything done has to improve the actual user experience in day-to-day use.” He also showed aspirations of being the “Muji of the tech industry”, emphasizing its focus on high-quality products with simplistic, user-friendly designs.[3] Continuing Lau’s association with the platform from the Oppo N1, OnePlus entered into an exclusive licensing agreement withCyanogen Inc. to base its products’ Android distribution upon a variant of the popular custom ROM CyanogenMod and use its trademarks outside of China.

The company unveiled its first device, the OnePlus One, on 23 April 2014. In December 2014, alongside the release of the OnePlus One in India exclusively through Amazon, OnePlus also announced plans to establish a presence in the country, with plans to open 25 official walk-in service centres across India. Sales of the device in India were halted following a temporary injunction granted to Micromax Mobile, alleging that it violated its exclusive rights to distribute Cyanogen-branded products in South Asia as part of a new joint venture and that its agreement superseded the agreement it had established with OnePlus. The company disputed the arguments, noting that its Cyanogen-based software was different than that of Micromax’s, and argued that the exclusivity agreement only meant that Cyanogen could not partner with any other company based in India, and did not inhibit the ability for OnePlus to market its products in the country with its trademarks. One Plus developed a new android custom rom named Oxygen OS. The new shipment of OnePlus One also removed the Cyanogen Logo from its back and box in order to simplify production lines.

OnePlus disembarked in South-East Asia partnering with Lazada Indonesia on 23 January 2015 and is expected to expand during this year throughout the region.

In 2014, OnePlus hired Han Han as the product ambassador in China.

On 9 March 2014 the company decided to expand its operations to all European Union countries, serving now over 35 countries and regions all over the world.

 

5. XIAOMI

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Xiaomi was founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Lei Jun, who believes that high-quality technology doesn’t need to cost a fortune. At Xiaomi, they’ve brought together smart people from Google, Kingsoft, Microsoft, Motorola, Yahoo, and other Internet and tech companies from around the world to bring that vision to life.

They believe in create remarkable hardware, software, and Internet services for – and with the help of – the Mi fans.

The strategy of direct sell to customers to keep the prices competitive.

And with more than 18 million handsets sold in China in 2013 and products launched in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, India and Indonesia, we are ready to go global, with the recent release of the flagship on-line store for some of their devices for UK and USA.

The company made a whopping 2.08 billion yuan ($335 million) during its annual “Mi Fan Fest” promotion, selling 2.12 million smartphones, 770,000 smart appliances, 247,000 power strips, 208,000 fitness watches, 79,000 wi-fi units and 38,600 smart televisions, according to its official Twitter account.

The Beijing-based company, which just celebrated its fifth anniversary, has been called the Apple of China. Its CEO, Lei Jun, even dons black turtlenecks and blue jeans during some events, similar to what Steve Jobs often wore for Apple product launches.

The company is one of the world’s top five smartphone makers, and frequently outsells Apple (AAPL,Tech30) in China. Xiaomi is now moving beyond phones, rolling out a suite of products from smart fitness accessories to Go Pro-style cameras.

Xiaomi entered the U.S. market earlier this year, and has hired former Google executive Hugo Barra to help its international expansion.