Li & Fung spin-off Global Brands wants China brands to compete globally

Li & Fung spin-off Global Brands wants to spur domestic brands to compete globally

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 5:19am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 5:50am

Home-grown mainland consumer brands could be ready to compete on the world stage by 2017 and Li & Fung spin-off Global Brands wants to be the one taking them there, according to chief executive Bruce Rockowitz .

"There haven't been any obvious emerging brands yet that have the sensibility to go to the other side of the water but they're getting better," he said.

He added that the company had a large global distribution network and could "do a lot for Chinese brands".

"That would be the next three-year plan when Chinese brands are ready," he said.

Rockowitz, who spoke to the South China Morning Post before Global Brands' debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange today, has taken the helm of the new unit after a decade as president of global trading group Li & Fung. He has been succeeded there by Spencer Fung, the son of honorary chairman Victor Fung Kwok-king and the third generation of the Fung family to run the business.

The restructuring sees Li & Fung returning to its core trading business, with Rockowitz taking his branding expertise and focusing it full-time on the spin-off consumer brands division.

He said his goal is to more than double the business' operating income from US$134 million over the next three years.

"As far as Western brands losing to domestic ones, I think it has to do with management, product, fit, and colour," he said.

"A lot of Western brands are not based here like we are and don't have the sensibility of the market. If you have the right people on the ground, you can adapt the brand to the culture.

"You look at fashion, art, music; tastes are quite different here. In music, it's not driven by the US - it's driven by Korea. It's the same thing with brands."

Rockowitz added that it took a minimum of 10 to 20 years to build a strong brand.

"A great brand has emotional connection to the consumer," he said.