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Shanghai brands rank 7th, in need of a boost

By Lu Chen (Global Times)

09:56, April 26, 2012

Shanghai brands rank seventh nationwide in terms of brand power, behind neighbors Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, which placed first and fifth, respectively, highlighting a need for the mega-city to build up better names, according to the findings of a new study.

The list compiled by Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences was determined by indices that measured a brand's competitive edge, business value and contribution to sustainable growth. It showed that while the number of Shanghai brands are increasing - 45 of which made a World Brand Lab top 500 brands report last year - their overall influence has been wavering, said the report's chief researcher Jiang Weihong.

"The danger is that without powerful brands, the city's will lose its competitive drive in the market, and that fallout could be detrimental for the economy," he told the Global Times yesterday.

The influx of foreign brands since the country's opening-up, which have greater capital and cheap labor in neighboring provinces to aid their production, have contributed to the fall of time-honored Shanghai brands, such as bicycle-maker Forever, added Jiang.

"Competition is fierce, perhaps why brand power is more crucial than ever," he said.

Jiang said that young entrepreneurs in Zhejiang and Jiangsu have done well with brand power as many of them have broken into new markets early, building their names from the get-go.

"On the other hand, State-owned companies failed to realize the value of brand power from the start," he said.

At the root of the problem, however, is a lack of ability to transfer Shanghai's cultural identity over to a personal branding form, according to David Wang, president of Brand Shanghai, a non-profit organization that advocates the promotion of local brands.

"Shanghai brands are in an embarrassingly low position," he told the Global Times yesterday. "The city needs to focus on what is 'truly Shanghainese' and personify those qualities through clever branding."

Shanghai has a unique "East meets West" culture and a nostalgic golden era from the 1930s, a rich history with characteristics that the city should not be afraid to embody, he added.

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