SINGAPORE--Huawei corporate communications head Ross Gan has called on Chinese companies to address the Brand China perception issues that continue to impact their ability to expand into global markets.
Gan made the comments at the Holmes Report’s ThinkTank Live conference in Singapore today. He told delegates that ‘Sinophobia’ remains a problem for Huawei’s brand, as it rapidly grows into one of the world’s biggest telecommunications players.
“Chinese companies have become a proxy for China,” said Gan. “We are automatically linked to larger political and economic forces. This is a dynamic that all Chinese companies have to address as they expand globally.”
Gan added that Chinese companies had to accept that they are often “held to higher standard than our Western peers.”
“Chinese companies face many perception hurdles, largely driven by stereotypes,” he said, pointing to such issues as exporting of jobs, price dumping, intellectual property and the Made in China brand.
Gan said that while Huawei, historically, had been very adept at engaging with customers, it had only recently learned the importance of working with non-customer stakeholders. “These groups have the ability to determine the outcome of a business transaction.”
“We need to regularly address misinformation based on legacy issues,” he said. “Trying to find the appropriate balance between addressing legacy issues and trying to be forward-looking is something I spend a lot of time on.”
The Brand China aspect, he added, highlighted the need for Chinese companies to deploy “highly localised workforces” in countries around the world, “complemented by a robust CSR programme.”
He also pointed to specific communications factors that Chinese companies need to bear in mind as they attempt to grow their global footprint. “Listen, keep an open mind and keep your blinders off,” he said. “Be flexible, and over communicate.”
Now worth around $28 billion, Huawei has grown rapidly during its 28 years in existence, and is looking to reach $100bn within the next decade.