Chinese Brand Endorsements in American Movies

Transformers 3 and Chinese brands

On July 21 2011, Transformers 3: Dark of the moon was shown in mainland China. Many audiences recognized  four Chinese brands in the movie: Meters/bonwe, Lenovo, TCL and Yili. This is the first time so many Chinese brands have had such high-profile exposure in a major Hollywood movie.

Meters/bonwe: M-Tee

Within 5 minutes of the film starting, leading actor Shia Labeouf appears wearing a Meters/bonwe MTEE t-shirt.

Lenovo: Ideacentre A series

Lenovo desktops / laptops feature throughout the movie.

TCL (The Creative Life): HDTV range

TCL was personally handpicked by the US film outfit and by movie director Michael Bay for its creative technological innovations and brand concept which make it the perfect marketing tool for the movie.

The most successful is Shuhua Low Lactose Milk made by Yili, one of the largest dairy companies in China. In a 10 second scene in the movie, a scientist played by US comedian Ken Jeong loudly drinks from a carton of the milk (Shuhua Low Lactose Milk) in an elevator. The writing on the carton is in Chinese. Anyway, Yili’s Shuhua Low Lactose Milk has been remembered by the audience in a very special way.

HTC – The Taiwan-based company in U.S. market

Just two years ago, Nielsen reported that HTC help a 20% market share in the US, doubling Samsung’s market share and only eight percentage point behind Apple’s dominating 28%. But now, the company’s market share has fallen dramatically.

Chief Executive Peter Chou said strong competition from Apple in the U.S. has hurt HTC’s earnings in the last two quarters. “It’s difficult to recover our market share in the U.S.” HTC has been in a tough spot in the U.S. market.

HTC needs to take a page out of Samsung’s book and start aggressively going after both Apple and Samsung. Through commercials, billboards and word of mouth it needs to show that the HTC One has the hardware and software chops (and it does) to take on the iPhone 5 (even the iPhone 5S) and the Galaxy S4. In New York City I see a “The Next Big Thing Is Here” Samsung advertisement on busses, on bus shelters, on street corners and, of course, on TV. Relentless marketing is HTC’s key.

Huawei – Another Chinese telecommunication company

Eric Xu, one of three rotating CEOs at the Chinese telecom gear maker, made the comments at an analyst conference in response to a question about congressional inquiries into Huawei spying concerns. Huawei isn’t interested in the U.S.

“We are not interested in the U.S. market anymore,” Xu said, according to the Reuters report. “Generally speaking, it’s not a market that we pay much attention to.”  Because the major telecoms in the United States have decided not to do business with Huawei, the growth in the company network carrier business is coming elsewhere. “Considering the situation we currently face in the U.S., it would be very difficult for the U.S. market to become a primary revenue source or a key growth area for our carrier network business.”