Tuesday, April 9, 2019

One Day in Shanghai

China is seen as a global powerhouse in manufacturing, though the products that are made in China are often assumed to be lacking quality and creativity. Certainly, the “Made in China” label is attached to these negative assumptions. In turn, the high-volume-low-quality stigma of Chinese products is a difficult one to break. In Shanghai, however, there is a design firm that is trying to overcome the longstanding Chinese approach to mass manufacturing and imitating Western product design.

In this video, you are introduced to the Neri and Hu design firm, which was started in 2004 by Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, who were both born and educated in Western countries and eventually moved to China. Their design firm is aimed at helping young designers to saturate the international market with new and uniquely designed products that oppose the stereotypes of being “made in China.” The ultimate goal is to show the world that China is capable of producing original ideas that are competitive in the international market.

Interestingly, toward the end of the video, Hu says, “Having a lot of international infiltration into the Chinese culture, I think that’s how China can grow into its next identity.”  This statement, coming from someone who was born and educated outside of China, seems to be egocentric in its ideology and expresses a desire for assimilation. In Shanghai, the city where the firm is located, there has clearly been an infiltration of Western culture, as exemplified through the presence of Western brands and stores. Although China is a communist country, it has embraced the free market economy, and this allows for the international infiltration that may either strengthen or weaken the Chinese brand.
When you hear a product was made in China, what do you think about that product?

What role do you think China plays in the world product market?

Is assimilation to the international marketplace beneficial or harmful for a country’s brand identity?

A mission statement answers the question, “What is our reason for being?”
                                              i.     In part, the mission statement of Hu and Neri’s firm is to create innovative and high-quality products regardless of their affiliation with the “Made in China” label.
                                             ii.     Another part of the mission statement for the firm is “international infiltration” of getting Chinese-designed products into the supply of other countries.

The goals set by Hu and Neri are strategic goals. Strategic goals are set by top management and focus on objectives for the organization as a whole. Hu and Neri create a very clear vision for their firm and do not need middle managers (who set tactical goals) or first-line managers (who set operational goals) to contribute to this vision. Unlike operational goals, strategic goals are part of long-term planning and less focused on the short-term outcomes.

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