Great Wall revs up overseas
For Wang Fengying, CEO of Great Wall Motor Co Ltd, China's largest maker of SUVs and pickup trucks, the biggest pressure and challenge in 2008 is how to build a better brand for Great Wall overseas.
Since 1998, Great Wall's vehicle export volume and revenue has maintained the leading position, and from 2000, its exports increased annually with a high average growth rate of 90 percent.
Last year, the company exported 51,394 units of vehicles with revenue of $450 million. Great Wall vehicles have run on the roads of 121 countries, 81 in which it has distribution and service networks
"We hope to export 80,000 vehicles this year, with overseas markets accounting for half of our sales next year," says Wang.
Wang believes her branding strategy is the key factor to Great Wall's overseas success.
"Branding integrates products, sales and service which, more importantly, shows the company's capability to develop," she says.
"Although we can provide high-quality products with competitive prices, in the fierce international competition, branding is vital for a company's long-term development," she says. "Great Wall is making efforts to change the international impression of low-quality, low-price Chinese vehicles."
The Great Wall Hover crossover utility vehicle, the company's major exported vehicle, contributing 22 percent of the total export sales figure, is sold in Russia at $22,000 and in Africa at $30,000. In China price is between 105,800 yuan ($15,120) and 146,800 yuan.
Now Great Wall is changing its strategy from simple complete vehicle trading to an integrated overseas marketing system including branding, sales and service network expansion, technology exporting, complete knock down (CKD) and semi-knock down exports and constructing manufacturing facilities overseas.
Great Wall has set up CKD facilities in Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Iran, Indonesia and Nigeria. "We are talking with the Russian government about building a complete vehicle plant there and also considering Vietnam as our second overseas manufacturing base," says Wang.
Wang says that by 2010, "Great Wall's target is to have 600 (sales, spare parts, service and survey) stores abroad, to better serve our customers."