Happy ‘Chinese Brands Day’!

Today – like every May 10 to come – has been designated a hallowed day for brands from the emerging superpower of China.

A speech by China’s General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People’s Republic of China, and Chairman of the Central Military (phew!) Xi Jinping, made on this day three years ago, called for China’s products to advance to brands.

And so it came to pass that China’s National Development and Reform Commission requested China’s State Council to duly designate today as “Chinese Brands Day”.

Congrats to… who?

So, which Chinese brands are we celebrating, exactly…?

According to the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands, Chinese technology player Tencent is China’s most valuable brand, growing its brand value 29% to $106B last year.  But the most impressive growth came from  brands providing products and services for the urban middle classes… education, travel agencies were the fastest-growing sectors, while technology and retail showed the highest growth in dollar terms, up 16% to $163.7B to $74.2B.

But those are brands westerners mostly know.   China’s Ministry Of Commerce called out 1,128 lesser known Chinese brands – lao zihao in local dialect – for special focus.

The Mysterious Brand East

The lao zihao are usually shops that originated in the Beijing area after the capital was relocated there during the Ming Dynasty. They have an average history of 160 years, and in modern times have begun to mass commercialise their staple products.

According to Wikipedialao zihao in the Beijing area include:
全聚德 – Beijing Roast Duck restaurant
东来顺 – hotpot restaurant
都一处 – restaurant famous for its shaomai
便宜坊 – another competing roast duck restaurant
狗不理 – baozi restaurant (from Tianjin, near Beijing)
馄饨侯 – wonton (hundun) restaurant
六必居- preserved vegetables and sauces
荣宝斋- works of art (notably wall scrolls)
同仁堂 – medicinal herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine
张一元 – tea house
瑞蚨祥 – cloth and qipaos (traditional Chinese clothes)
内联升 – traditional Chinese cloth shoes
盛锡福 – hats

Pictured: Chinese traditional medicine seller Tongrentang opened a new store in Stockholm in late 2015.

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