Financial services firms can learn a lot about marketing from China. The next stage in China’s economic development is to progress from being the factory of the world (that is, from being made in China) to creating things that others have not yet conceived (that is, being created in China). This will enable China to better control its destiny and move away from being leveraged primarily as a low-cost provider.
The Ministry of Information Industry formed a group called the Creative China Industrial Alliance. Its explicit mandate is to push the slogan of “created in China.” The Creative China Industrial Alliance provides marketing for conference management, Web design, and project management. The Chinese government’s decision to kick Starbucks out of Beijing’s Forbidden City may be considered the beginning of the “created in China” movement.
While the “created in China” concept is still an emerging idea, design firms are now beginning to flourish. For example, s.point of China recently designed a children’s PC for Intel. Designers observed the way children used their computers to understand their habits. They also learned what parents like and dislike. The result was a children’s PC designed to meet all of these needs.
Financial services firms have much more in common with China than first meets the eye. They have been associated with quantity as opposed to quality, very much like China. China has issues related to brand image (for example, unfavorable press on such issues as tainted milk and toxic toys) that need to be addressed. Financial services firms face similar issues with toxic debts that have dragged down the global economy.
Financial services firms must begin the hard work of repairing their tainted image with consumer and corporate clients. The created-in-China approach shows what concerted efforts in marketing can do.
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