Portuguese products lack projection in China, consultants say

13 June 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 13 June – Portuguese products lack projection and promotion in China, which makes their entry into the market more difficult, three specialist Chinese consultants have said.

Wu Bin, a consultant with Market Access, told Dia D magazine in Lisbon that the work involved in placing Portuguese products on the market was, “very challenging, because Portugal has almost zero image and, on the other hand there are very good brands in China.”

According to Pedro Vieira, from the same consulting company, as well as promotion, Portuguese companies are lacking in the area of customer care and loyalty for Chinese customers.

China he said, “does not want the Portuguese to merely send products,” but rather “want to receive support in sales and promotion.” China is at a stage when it has low labor costs, knows how to produce, but has problems at the extremes of the value chain, or rather, in the design and promotion of products.”

Last year, Portuguese exports to China increased by 39 percent, to a record value of 170.7 million euros, but recent studies have concluded that the number of Portuguese companies set up in the world’s largest market is still very reduced in number.

One example of success, according to Wu, is Habidecor-Abyss, a company which “does not limit itself to waiting for orders and which knows how to win the hearts of Chinese consumers,” a “constant effort in terms of promotion and time.”

“The owner is Portuguese, but its mind is entirely different from the majority of companies that I know,” said Wu.

Fernando Costa Freire, of Edeluc, said that the majority of Portuguese companies continued to look to the Chinese market from a short-term and passive point of view, which has led the consultancy to reject working with some customers.

“What we demand from customers is the commitment that China is not a temporary target,” which have led him to not consider projects which, “are of no interest because they are not sustainable and do not represent added value.”

Renato Roldão, executive of China Link, agrees and tells of a case of “a company which wanted to place thousand of plastic bags on the Chinese market,” but was not willing to visit the market or invest in promotion. (macauhub)