Coke/Pepsi and International Strategy for Penetrating the Chinese Market
Going global is the next move of virtually any successful American company. However, when it comes to penetrating the markets of nations that are drastically different from the U.S., one needs to be aware of these different cultures and expectations and use this knowledge to guide one's actions fully and succinctly.
When it came to companies like Coke and Pepsi, companies that are absolutely massive, they both used differing strategies in a nation as specific as China. When Coca-Cola had launched in China, they had just instituted a very specific and strategic method of integration: " 'think local, act local, but leverage global' mandate to empower local decision makers, in recognition of the need to both respond to local preferences and react to local competitors" (Dai). Thus, Coca-Cola's strategy was one marked by aggression and a proactive engagement: the initial investment that Coca-Cola used was of $1.1 billion. Part of the success that Coca-Cola was able to experience was connected to the fact that it was aggressive, but also highly adaptable. The company not only pushed forward their standard products to the Chinese market, such as Coke, Pepsi, Fanta and Sprite, but they also developed new products that the Chinese market would no doubt be more receptive to. Heaven and Earth, Jinrneile, Smart, Lenfang, Qoo, along with a new water brand called Sensation. These new brands were all particularly marketed to the Chinese audience in a manner that would seem familiar and which would evoke pleasurable responses. For example, common cultural items like windmills and dragons would be used, along with local film stars and famous athletes, including gold-winning Olympic athletes. This allowed the Coca-Cola Company to engage in a certain amount of national pride and to fully flourish within their most pressing cultural advances and achievements. While the company was able to experience around $189 million in revenue, consumption of coca cola was still far below that of the United States, as in America the per capita consumption is 415 servings, 163 in Japan, 98 in Europe, and 68 in South Korea (Dai). Thus, while these efforts were indeed valiant and smart, they didn't produce the desired results that were meaningful to the company at large.
PepsiCo adopted a similar strategy when it came to debuting to the Chinese market. PepsiCo first debuted to the Chinese market by signing a deal with the Chinese government which established a certain level of partnership in 1981. Twenty years later the company, like Coca-Cola had invested half a billion dollars in China, by developing bottling plants and by pushing forward all of its carbonated soda varieties, such as 7up, Miranda, and Mountain Dew. In order to connect more strongly with the Chinese market, it also bought Chinese varieties of these brands, such as Asia, Arctic and Tianfu. Chinese entertainers and famous personalities were also hired as brand ambassadors. However, none of these tactics ever proved to offer any level of notable success. As it turned out, "high marketing costs and conflicts with joint venture partners were holding the company back" (Dai).
The Success of Wahaha: Resources Capabilities and Competencies
One of the major items that allowed Wahaha to success where massive companies like Coke and Pepsi had failed were as a result of the company's strong confidence and leadership. "Zong firmly believed that local companies were capable of competing with multinational players… He concluded that the failure of domestic colas in the early stages was due to their lack of marketing and brand management skills, and that Wahaha had proven that it had these skills. As well, he believed that some domestic producers did not want to compete with multinationals because they did not have the confidence to compete against the giants. Confidence was not lacking at Wahaha" (Dai). This is indeed a revelatory summary of the situation and one which should not be underestimated. The leader of Wahaha demonstrates that he is able to accurately appraise the situation and to give an accurate assessment of what's really going on, something that most other companies appeared unable to do. By engaging in this accurate assessment, Zong put the company in a place where it would be more likely to succeed, as result of their openness and honesty about why others had failed…