Coca Cola in China (Introductory Speech)
Coca Cola in China (Introductory Speech)
First, I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to view our short presentation. It is a pleasure to finally be able to show you the results of our efforts at identifying the challenges of doing business in China encountered by American companies and the strategies employed by businesses to solve the issues that arise from cultural differences. Before we move on to our major topics, allow me to give you a brief backgrounder on the Chinese market and the Coca Cola Company so we can level off with expectations.
I think that all of you will agree that China is one of the most appealing markets in today’s global economy. (Fan & Zigang 2004, p. 82) Hence, it is not surprising that the Chinese market has become the current battle ground for most of the world’s leading brands seeking to take advantage of the China as a young and emerging market. However, doing business in China is not that easy. One of the most formidable challenges facing multinationals in their China venture is the existence of cultural differences not only between Western companies and Chinese consumers but also between Western
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Consequently, Coca Cola’s efforts at winning the tastes of consumers with a radically different background should be interesting enough to watch. Coca Cola, one currently the world’s leading brands in the consumer beverage industry, entered the Chinese market to revive the brand’s declining growth in its mature markets, including its domestic U.S. market (Tong 2008). However, its entry into the Chinese market would be a test of Coca Cola’s appeal to the beverage mass market given that Coca Cola’s success in other markets has been mainly driven by its association with American popular culture. Clearly, Coca Cola’s China bid will require major changes, particularly in communication and advertising strategy, in order to be responsive to the Chinese context. Already, Coca Cola has had to do some minor adjustments on its brand to be understood by Chinese consumers, a move that has enabled it to establish itself in the Chinese beverage industry (Csymbol 2006). However, this is just one of the issues that the beverage giant had to face.
This presentation is therefore aimed at examining the cultural barriers of doing business in China and how Coca Cola has responded to the challenges of intercultural differences in its business operations in China. To accomplish this, my team and I will present the results of our research into Coca Cola’s intercultural communications strategy in China. First, Luis will give us a detailed view of negotiations in the Chinese context as compared to the American context to enable a cultural comparison of the two business environments. This will be followed by Angela’s discussion on Coca Cola’s company background and the real-life implications and challenges of intercultural communications of the Chinese market for companies like Coca Cola. Next, Laura will illustrate the decisions and responses that these challenges require using examples. We will also show an actual interview with a Chinese national in order to provide a more concrete picture of what intercultural communication strategies companies must be able to apply in their attempt to win over Chinese consumers. The presentation will be concluded by Laura, who will summarize the main points of the presentation and provide points for thinking and discussion.
I hope that we would be able to provide you with important insights and contribute with new learning with our efforts. Let us now move on to the first major part of this presentation which will be given by Luis.
Csymbol (2006). Branding in Chinese, the Coca-Cola story. Retrieved October 16, 2008 from http://csymbol.com/chinese/chinese_branding.html
Fan, P. & Z. Zigang (2004). Cross-cultural challenges when doing business in China. Singapore Management Review, 26(1): 81-90.
Tong, V. (2008). Coca-Cola’s 3Q profit up 14 percent. Retrieved October 16, 2008 from http://www.kentucky.com/473/story/556340.html.