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BLOG: Apple, branded in the Middle Kingdom

Stefan Hammond | July 18, 2012
In 1997, I interviewed a senior Apple executive who was in Hong Kong to discuss Cupertino's strategy.

On the other hand, the lack of genuine Apple Stores in China has created myriad opportunities for the Middle Kingdom's creative entrepreneurs, who are seldom hindered by details like intellectual property. According to David Wolf, chief executive of Beijing-based consultancy Wolf Group Asia, bad consumer experiences at unauthorized shops are common. Clearly, damage to brand-equity isn't of concern to the shopkeepers.

Apple has announced plans to expand its retail network in China, and the settlement with Shenzhen-based Proview over iPad trademark-rights removes one stumbling-block. As China's growing middle-class realizes that buying the real deal from Apple results in better productivity and customer-satisfaction, awareness of quality-control will get another boost. This is important in China, where shoddy consumer-goods often motivate mainlanders to visit Hong Kong and Macau to purchase items of known-quality (everyone knows why pharmacies in both these SARs feature large stacks of milk-powder cans).

As genuine Apple products compete with the fakes, devices with the iconic Apple logo in China may morph from "branded" to "brand."


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