Roughly a decade ago, Stan Shih, chairman of the Taiwan-based Acer Inc. coined the term ‘Smiling curve’, which pointed out that Chinese manufacturing added little value. They lacked the high value steps of the production chain, like R&D and marketing.
When I read this for the first time, I asked Twitter to list three influential Chinese brands. No satisfying reply: LG? (Korean) HTC? (Taiwanese)? It made me painfully clear that Chinese brands had a long way to go.
These days I’m back in The Netherlands and it’s somewhat a different world. Innovation aside, it seems that Chinese brands are entering the European households. I noticed a banner for a Chinese bank at the airport. My sports team is sponsored by a Chinese company.
And as mentioned before, these days the phrase “You should not worry about China making cheaper products, you should worry about China making better products”. comes to mind. No wonder Apple is opening an R&D center in Shanghai.
Reading that, I went online and asked the same question from five years before, the first European reply included: Alibaba, China Mobile, Huawei.
Seems that China is getting successful at climbing the curves of the smile.
Lean more about Chinese brands: PDF