Forget about IBM Thinkpad! When 联想 (Lenovo) agreed in 2005 to purchase the computer-manufacturing division of IBM, the contract stipulated that it could use the IBM brand on its notebook-computer products for three years. With the end of that period approaching, Lenovo is preparing its strategy to launch its own-brand line of consumer-electronics products in North America and Europe in early 2008.
By now, China-produced goods have more or less conquered the world. Moreover, Chinese investment abroad (FDI) is growing rapidly – USD 20 billion in 2006. But can you name 3 Chinese technology brands which are global?
For a starter, China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator, with more than 340 million subscribers, a 75% share of the mainland cellular market… and 5 million new customers every month! The company is making forays into a number of “neighbour” markets (e.g. Pakistan) and has had a partnership with Vodafone for a number of years. In the equipment industry, keep an eye on ZTE (Zhongxin Telecom Equipment) and Huawei (who just bought 3Com). Both companies have been growing their international sales at an amazing pace. And, in addition to numerous deals in less mature markets, they have managed to convinced the BTs of this world too. Finally, remember Sina, one of the most influential Internet operator, with more than 230 million registered uses worldwide and over 700 million daily page views.
But what about the global identity of Chinese multinationals? Many companies are hoping to emerge as truly global players. Some of them are getting a hand from the government to become national champions. if one was to draw a key factor from successful global MNCs, the ability to think global and act local. Are the emerging Chinese multinationals up to the task?