Challenges faced by Chinese Brands in Internationalisation – Taking ‘Anta’ as an Example.

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Abstract: Background: Since the Go Global policy in 1999, Chinese firms have been growing and expanding exponentially in the global market. The internationalisation of Chinese firms has attracted not only business partners, policy makers but also researchers with their unconventional process and method. The problem occurs when Chinese brands are facing challenges in brand awareness and equity in foreign markets despite their strong presence domestically. One industry stands out as the most relevant example – the apparel industry – since China has been the largest exporter and importer of clothes worldwide yet Chinese brands are hardly recognised internationally. Among all, ANTA, one of the largest multinational companies (MNCs) operating in the sportswear industry, raises high interest for a case study with their rapid international expansion and their new global strategy. Purpose: This paper aims to examine the process of internationalisation and brand internationalisation of Chinese MNCs through the case of ANTA. This paper also wishes to contribute to the lack of study in the stream of literature regarding Chinese market cultivation post-entry to a new oversea markets and brand internationalisation. Method: A qualitative research was conducted through an exploratory approach. In-depth interviews were utilised for primary data collection in which 6 employees from different positions under ANTA agreed to become participants. A thematic analysis was then carried out. Secondary data about ANTA and their activities and strategies was also collected in order to use in combination with the empirical findings from the interviews. Lastly, an analysis of all the data based on the relevant literature was conducted. Conclusion: ANTA’s internationalisation process was found to be in line with past studies where acquisition is the preferable method. Several reasons were discussed for this choice of entry mode including the macro and firm factors. Following this, the choice of multi-brand strategy was fitting as it enables firms to leverage the acquired assets such as brand names, product lines, markets, capabilities and technology to diminish problems like low product range, lack R&D and technology and ownership disadvantages. However, potential challenges may also occur such as low brand equity and short-term orientated strategy that cannot be solved through rapid expansion and capital utilisation.

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