Tom Doctoroff

China’s consumers might be high on the agenda of many global brands, getting them is a tough challenge, explains China’s consumer guru Tom Doctoroff in the Business Times. “The difference is the depth of their ambition.”

The Business Times:

Foreign brands wanting to enter China’s retail market to take a slice of the country’s growing consumer dollar must understand the complex cultural make-up of its shoppers or risk packing their bags sooner than expected.

In particular, international players have to realise that consumption in China is very much an outward show of status and for professional advancement, said Tom Doctoroff, the Asia-Pacific head of advertising giant J Walter Thomson (JWT) and an expert on Chinese consumerism.

“The difference between Chinese consumers and others is the depth of their ambition – the desire to be emperor of their own corner. There is a dragon in the heart of every Chinese,” said the Shanghai-based chief executive of JWT Asia-Pacific at a dialogue on China’s retail sector organised by HSBC in Singapore last month.

E-commerce might be booming in China, but it also offers specific challenges, tells Tom Doctoroff;

“The key word is reassurance. It has become increasingly safe to buy from a broader range of categories online. Money is not handed over until customers can squeeze the product,” said Tom Doctoroff, the Asia-Pacific CEO of advertising giant J Walter Thomson at the HSBC dialogue session last month.

More in the Business Times, and here.

Tom Doctoroff is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

China Weekly Hangout

Shadow banking is on the agenda of the +China Weekly Hangout for Friday 30 August, featuring shadow-banking expert assistant professor Sara Hsu You can read or announcement here, ask questions, or register for live participation at our event page.

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Sara Hsu


Are foreign firms having a hard time in China, asked the China Weekly Hangout earlier in August? Western journalists focus on Western firms in China, that might be fair, but they ignore China’s real challenges, argue China veteran-at-large Janet Carmosky and sustainability expert Richard Brubaker, moderated by Fons Tuinstra of the China Speakers Bureau.


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