China’s Trademarks: The Volumes Grow While Overall Value Lags Behind

Do you recognize all the trademark logos on the picture? They represent some of the most famous Chinese trademarks that are already entering the global top-100 charts of the most valuable trademarks.

The volumes of China’s trademark filings have increased dramatically in the recent years, from 26.000 trademark applications in 1981 – a number that just seems unrealistic today – to more than seven million applications in 2018. Chinese entities and individuals also increasingly file trademarks in foreign markets as part of China’s Go-Global strategy.

However, sheer volumes of applications do not show the value that a trademark is supposed to represent – namely the value of the brand, its attractiveness, consumer trust, quality and innovativeness of products or services behind it or years of investments in marketing and communication. The recent survey by CompuMark conducts an interesting comparison: it calculates the relation of gross domestic product GDP as an indicator of economic activity to trademark filings. While in the USA this correlation remained stable for the last twenty years with each trademark representing around 50 million US dollars of the GDP, in China the picture is very different. The coefficient is low and, what is more, it has been falling over the recent years. In 2018, one Chinese trademark represented only less than two million US dollars of the GDP.

With the exception of a few truly international technological giants such as Alibaba or Haier, an average Chinese trademark has not yet reached an ambitious goal of global influence. However, with the growing China’s influence and gigantic global projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative, this might change in the next years. The first indication for this is that the amount of infringement cases is growing, where foreign entities infringe on Chinese intellectual property, especially in the area of mobile applications.

Especially with the inevitable technological shifts towards renewable energy, green mobility, and automation in all spheres of life, it might be that in twenty years some of the current global top trademarks are unrecognizable for young generation while the new champions arise, some of them surely in Asia.

Source: CompuMark

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