Q&A: Catherine Peng, corporate communications director, Bosch China

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Marketing Week (MW): What are the specific features of Bosch products in China?

Catherine Peng (CP): One of Bosch’s development strategies is local for local. For example, in March 2011, Bosch launched a tailor-made power tool for the Chinese market called the T-series. We have responded to the heavy construction needs in this country as well as Chinese tradesmen’s dream of having a Bosch power tool. The main features of the T-series were designed after researching the Chinese user’s working environment and purchasing. The retail price of the T-series is made more affordable for Chinese users than traditional Bosch products in other markets.

MW: How does Bosch tailor its brand communications for the Chinese audience?

CP: Bosch has been in China for 102 years, hence it is not a stranger to the Chinese. The communication strategy is both to highlight the heritage as a German brand standing for technological advancement and innovation; and to take into consideration local market needs in terms of communication. For instance, Bosch’s Chinese name is Bo Shi, which is a phonetic translation from Bosch but it also means big, worldwide, which is well accepted by consumers who are seeking a high-quality, world-famous brand.

We also believe that a strong corporate social responsibility strategy will help enhance Bosch’s reputation in China. At the end of 2009, Bosch initiated a programme to support 100 vocational schools in China with technical training over a five-year period. Bosch also donated 11 million Chinese Yuan (£1.05m) to help rebuild two schools which were devastated in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

MW: What kinds of things can brands learn?

CP: There are market specifics that need to be taken into consideration. For instance, to a Chinese, a rainbow appearing at the end of a TV commercial will be highly welcomed; while to a German, this looks strange. And the use of the number eight in China means wealthy and lucky while in Europe it would be just a number.

China: A snapshot

China is the second largest economy in the world in nominal US dollar terms.
China is about the same geographical size as the US, with a population of 1.3 billion people. In 2008, there were 122 cities in China with over 1 million people each.
It is the second largest luxury goods market in the world after Japan.
It overtook the US to become the world’s largest car market in 2009.
It has over 833 million mobile phone users and 420 million internet users.
UK exports to China were up 44% year-on-year at £4.5bn last year.
In 2009, there were 85,000 Chinese students in the UK.

The 5 most valuable Chinese brands

1 China Mobile. Value: $56.1bn. World’s largest mobile service provider. More than 500m subscribers.
2 ICBC – Industrial & Commercial Bank of China. Value: $38.1bn . Largest bank in the world, 16,200 branches.
3 Bank of China. Value: $22.3bn. Most international and diverse bank in China
4 China Construction Bank. Value: $21.7bn. Founded 1954 and managed funds of 150 construction projects
5 China Life Insurance. Value: $18.3bn. Strategy to change from government entity to global consumer brand
Source: Millward Brown BrandZ

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