Authentic voices. Remarkable stories. AOL On Originals showcase the passions that make the world a more interesting place.
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He's a brand himself - known for his sophisticated style with a China twist David Tang is founder of chic upmarket retailer ...
Shanghai Tang which he sold to Europe's Richemont group - and the founder of the luxurious China Club, a dining and recreation. While Tang has created concepts around the theme of China himself - the country has yet to develop brands with global recognition despite its swift rise on the world stage.
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EDITORS PLEASE NOTE THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL He's a brand himself - known for his sophisticated style with a China twist David Tang is founder of chic upmarket retailer Shanghai Tang which he sold to Europe's Richemont group - and the founder of the luxurious China Club, a dining and recreation. While Tang has created concepts around the theme of China himself - the country has yet to develop brands with global recognition despite its swift rise on the world stage. Beer maker Tsingtao may be one of the few internationally recognised products. Cities such as Shanghai are awash with western images and consumer products. Rather than creating its own, the country has gone on a buying binge of overseas household names: I asked him why China has yet to enter the brand big-leagues. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER OF SHANGHAI TANG, DAVID TANG, SAYING: "Well first of all, we are the consumers. We are the people buying it, not only in China, but outside of China.The growth of luxury brands can all be defined by the purchasing power of Chinese. Even in France, or in Britain, or in Germany, the growth of the luxury items there is a direct result of Chinese visitors. Now, eventually we hope to be able to sell things that you would recognize as a brand. So far we already supply a great deal of stuff to the west. We run a trade surplus of $300 billion dollars a year between America and the European Union but we don't sell it as branded products." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "So, beyond that stuff that is being sold to the rest of the world, what's missing to turn it into something that's made in China?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER OF SHANGHAI TANG, DAVID TANG, SAYING: "Well number one: the understanding that there is in fact a great deal of good will that resides in a brand which people have come to recognize. This in itself is only a phenomenon in the west in the last twenty or thirty years and so it would take some time for China to realise that building a brand adds value to the product. But more importantly, the product has got to be something that people want." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "And is that realistic? China is much more understood and much more talked about in the world now. Is it a short matter of time really before people start to want those types of Asian or Chinese goods that can be branded with a Chinese stamp?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER OF SHANGHAI TANG, DAVID TANG, SAYING: "It's not as easy as that. Even if you are in Europe, you try to break into the American market and even the very cleverest brands, cleverest people don't manage to. Building a brand sounds all very easy. The point is that its got to be underpinned by the right product or the right services." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "So, are you essentially saying that China, in terms of its brand and production, is really not ready to be competitive?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER OF SHANGHAI TANG, DAVID TANG, SAYING: "I don't think 'ready' is the right point. I think they've got to develop something which the west wants. And you've got to ask the question what it is that they want that comes from China. It's very difficult always to get into the mainstream, it will take time and its got to have a particular niche. Which sector of the market? Is it cheap, or is it medium, or is it luxury?" ENDS