Tag Archives: nouveau riche

Automotive Brand-Building In China: Opportunities And Challenges Abound

Western, Chinese Brands Vie For Customer Loyalty As Emerging Middle Class And “Nouveau Riche” Demand Continues To Grow

Buick has capitalized on its reputation for quality and luxury in the Chinese market, enjoying massive success and launching China-only models like the Excelle

Buick has capitalized on its reputation for quality and luxury in the Chinese market, enjoying massive success and launching China-only models like the Excelle

As demand for new vehicles has remained sluggish in developed markets over the past two years, major automakers have rightly looked to retool their strategies to draw customers and build their brands in new markets. As we’ve written before, selling your brand in markets like China, where customers expect different things — and derive status from very specific brand attributes —  represents both a major opportunity and a new challenge. A good example of an automaker that has benefitted from the “blank slate” allowed it by entry into the young Chinese market is Buick, which has a reputation as a car for older, or middle-aged, drivers in its native market, the USA, yet has — through aggressive branding and advertising efforts — developed a reputation as a sleek, luxurious, youthful brand in the Chinese market.

So how can car brands optimize their brand equity in China? Depending on where they come from, their strategies differ greatly. While American car makers like Ford have had great success in overseas markets like Europe by pushing their reliability and value, in the Chinese market imported cars are, generally, chosen by buyers to be a status symbol, rather than “inexpensive.” Ford, then, cannot compete on price alone, as Chinese automakers like Chery and Geely — which have sizeable lineups of entry-level models — will always be able to undercut them. As a result, it is important for foreign car makers to not just build their brand in China, but to build a strong brand in China, one that speaks to Chinese consumers in a way that domestically-produced autos cannot. To break it down further, foreign automakers need to build a strong, distinctive brand — a German car must fit Chinese conceptions of German cars, Japanese cars Japanese attributes and so on.

In practice, how are foreign automakers faring in their Chinese branding strategies? Today, Reuters looks into the “uphill road” these brands are traveling in China, and how they have refocused their branding strategies to varying degrees of success. Using the example of a “nouveau riche” car buyers who has traded his BMW in for an Audi  — since the Audi has developed a strong reputation in China as a car for bureaucrats or (comparatively) “old money” while BMW is considered a brand for the nouveau riche (a group into which the buyer in question is loath to be grouped) — the article provides valuable insight into the particularities of a market so new that even seasoned marketers and branding execs are often at a loss to develop long-term strategies.

Continue reading

Chinese “Nouveau Riche” List Topped By Beijing

Beijing Bests Five Other Cities In Number Of Newly Rich, With 8,800, In Hurun Report’s Newest List

Hurun's Report on the Nouveau Riche took many cultural and geographic factors into account

Hurun's Report on the Nouveau Riche took many cultural and geographic factors into account

China Daily writes on the Hurun Report‘s newest list of China’s nouveau riche, tabulating the number of Chinese who have grown wealthy in the last year in six cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, and Shenyang. This report clarifies its methodology by noting that to be a member of the “nouveau riche” in Beijing, a basic consumption standard of at least 87 million yuan each year (approximately 12.73 million USD), is required (About 51,000 people in China have such consumption capability).

While this type of report can be considered by some to be petty and, in some ways, not terribly enlightening — as everybody already knows China’s wealthy are growing very rapidly — it does shed some valuable light not so much on how much money they have, but rather what they are doing with it, and what it means to them. China Daily gives some more detail on this side of the report:

Continue reading