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Haier as a metaphor of China

In one of the latest issues of The Economist, Haier was described as a metaphor for China itself. The Haier group is a multinational consumer electronics and home appliances company headquartered in Qingdao, Shandong. Its products include air conditioners, mobile phones, computers, microwave ovens, washing machines, refrigerators and televisions. In 2010 the Haier brand had the world’s largest market share in white goods, with 6.1 per cent.

The Haier management cult was born in 1985 when Zhang Ruimin, appointed a year earlier to rescue an ailing state-owned refrigerator factory, dealt with its quality-control problems by joining his workers in taking sledgehammers to 76 defective fridges. In the official history of the company that became Haier, the episode is treated as hallowed proof of its commitment to quality and to its customers. In the West, we often refer to this as public relations. Mr Zhang’s hammer is now in China’s national museum in Beijing, while Haier has become a global firm.

There are fridges now on sale that use computerised displays to tell you when the milk is off; ones with a video-message facility so you can tell your housemates the milk is off; others with six doors for fastidious Japanese customers who abhor the idea of keeping their frozen fish with their ice-cream; and freezers that stay cold for 100 hours without electricity for those relying on the African power grid.

From its shabby, humble origins, Haier has grown to a group with 70,000 employees, an annual turnover of $21 billion, and a 6% share of its global market. In the first half of the year its listed subsidiary in Hong Kong reported increases of 68% in turnover and 77% in net profit over the same period in 2010. The company has been one of the biggest corporate beneficiaries of the huge injection of Chinese government money into the economy after the 2008 financial crisis.

Much like Haier, China itself is transforming from a rather poor country into one of the world’s leading economies: China’s average annual GDP growth rate was at over 10% in the last decade. If you want to have a go at penetrating this market, ask SanTranslate, your translation service provider.

By | October 13th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Amazon fires on the tablet market

On 28 September, Amazon.com’s boss, Jeff Bezos unveiled a tablet computer called the Kindle Fire, which will be available from mid-November in the US. Many expect the new tablet to compete well with established products like B&N’s Nook Color tablet and Apple’s iPad. The new Amazon tablet has a somewhat smaller screen than the iPad and only offers Wi-Fi connectivity, but will cost just $199. That is far less than the cheapest iPad, a Wi-Fi-only device which costs $499. B&N have responded to the Kindle Fire by cutting the price of its Nook Color to $224. Amazon also rolled out a new range of Kindle e-readers, the cheapest of which costs just $79.

“We are building premium products and offering them at non-premium prices,” said Mr Bezos. Amazon’s decision to undercut its rivals is partly a tactic designed to disrupt the tablet market, which is still dominated by the iPad. This successful e-tailer counts that its cheap tablet will be wildly popular and therefore boost sales of Amazon’s cloud-based content, just as the Kindle e-reader boosted sales of e-books. It’s like free parking outside Walmart — you want potential customers to see what’s in the window.

The Kindle Fire has a 7″ vibrant colour touchscreen that delivers 16 million colours in high resolution. You can use it to view movies or read magazines and children’s books. Over 100,000 movies and TV shows, including thousands of new releases are available to stream or download, purchase or rent.

This tablet gives you free storage for all your Amazon digital content in the Amazon Cloud. With the Kindle Fire you can use Amazon Silk, a revolutionary cloud-accelerated browser based on “split browser” architecture to leverage the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services cloud. When a tablet user goes to a website, an Amazon cloud computer will do all the grunt work in loading the page and then zaps only the information that is needed back to the tablet.

By | October 13th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

A new couple: Latin America and China

Latin America has changed – and it is largely thanks to China. A region once known for instability has sailed through the global financial crisis with falling poverty, a booming middle class and asset markets bubbling. This is due to a spectacular expansion of commodity-based trade.

Over the past decade, fast-growing emerging countries, such as Asia, India and Africa, have shown a nearly insatiable demand for the commodities that Latin America has in abundance like Argentine soya, Brazilian iron ore, Chilean copper and Peruvian gold. The change has been rapid: in 1999, trade between Latin America and China was a mere $8bn. By 2009, according to UN figures, it had grown to $130bn – 16 times that ten years ago. By comparison, bilateral trade with the US rose by just a half over the same period.

With the first overseas trip by Brazil’s new president, Dilma Rousseff, directed at China, the world could be witnessing the birth of one of the great commercial relationships of the future. “Brazil will export a lot of the strategic commodities that China needs and China will export manufactured goods and invest in assembly plans in Brazil,” says Charles Tang, head of the Brazil-China chamber of trade and industry. In 2009, China surpassed the US as Brazil’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 12.5 per cent of the Latin American country’s exports.

Of course every commodity needs to have its packaging and terms and conditions translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese to hit those markets, just as marketing campaigns need a localisation service based around the society and culture of Latin America and China, which are extremely different. When dealing with markets with such high potential, you need to choose an accurate and reliable translation service provider. Ask SanTranslate.

By | October 13th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments
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