Last week I was working in Lusaka, although quite frankly I could have been in Beijing. I stayed in a 5-star Chinese Hotel and used its impressive Congress venue. The place was ultra-modern and as clean as a whistle. Everything worked; the Zambian staff were polite and helpful. All my fellow guests were smart Chinese government and business people. There was no smoking, shouting or spitting. The only alarming experience was to be found in the dining room where the breakfast buffet contained some dishes that alarmed me. Especially since I had narrowly avoided eating stewed donkey the night before – selected in error by a Zambian waiter with an ordering tablet he was ill-equipped to navigate. In fairness to him, we were both working on the pictures as all the text was in Mandarin.
This was in fact an object lesson in the regional penetration of a huge brand. Indeed, Brand Finance -one of the world’s leading independent valuers of brands – revealed recently that China is now the fastest growing nation brand on the planet. Up US$3.1 trillion from 2016, this growth figure is equal to the entire nation brand value of Britain.
In relative terms, China’s nation brand value grew 44% year on year, or at a 20-times faster pace than the United States’. However, at US$10.2 trillion, China’s nation brand value is still only half that of America’s so sustaining growth will be key to narrowing the gap. David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented: “This year’s 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China marks the end of the Central Committee’s five-year term which has seen a revolutionary change in China’s approach to brands. In a virtuous circle, Chinese brands and the transformed national image of China as an emerging global power are reinforcing each other and further add to the country’s attractiveness to investors and tourists.” Continue reading