Most of Taiwan's corporations have only recently initiated active branding campaigns, but hope to catch up with the world's strongest brand names soon, trade officials and corporate leaders said yesterday.
"While earning meager profits, Taiwanese companies have to upgrade themselves from OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] to OBMs [original brand manufacturers] sooner or later," Bureau of Foreign Trade Deputy Director Hsu Chun-fang (徐純芳) said in a year-end review of the "Branding Taiwan" campaign.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) launched a seven-year "Branding Taiwan" campaign last year with a NT$1.6 billion (US$49.3 million) budget.
The campaign focuses on helping SMEs (small and medium enterprises), rather than companies that have already made their mark and possess strong brand names, such as computer hardware manufacturers Acer Inc and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), which ranked as the top brand name in Taiwan this year with a value of US$1.196 billion.
Nonetheless, the brand value of Asustek is far less than that of the US car-renting company Hertz, which ranked last on the list of the world's top 100 brand names this year with a brand value of US$3.3 billion, showing how far Taiwanese companies lag behind in brand development, said Chao Yuan-chuan (
"Taiwan has a long way to go to catch up with the development of international brands. We're latecomers, but at least we're now on our way," Hsu said.
Most Taiwanese SMEs realized that branding is a road they have to travel if they are serious about staying competitive, but they lack the necessary budget, an essential factor in building up a brand name and expertise, Chao said.
That was where the Branding Taiwan campaign comes in, said Michael Chiu (
The company is now selling its products in 50 countries.
Taiwanese designers and inventors have been doing well in international invention shows and design competitions -- such as the iF and Red Dot competition in Germany -- Chiu said.
With its already strong manufacturing sector, Taiwan will be in an excellent position to develop more international brands if it can integrate the various value chains of different sectors, he said.
Chao encouraged SMEs intending to go into corporate branding to first identify their niche markets and products in order to put their money in the right place. Corporations were also encouraged to develop their brand names in Taiwan before taking them international. Partnerships between several SMEs to develop a brand was also an option, he said.
"For example, A Team, the leading Taiwanese cycling industry association, which includes bicycle manufacturers Giant, Merida and others, has been influential and important in the cycling world because of their strong partnership," Chao said.
The combined brand value of this year's top 20 Taiwanese brands exceeds NT$280.5 billion, representing a 33 percent increase over last year's NT$211 billion.
The brand valuation was organized by the MOEA and conducted by TAITRA.
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