The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

We should be well used to seeing non-U.S. brand-name products on store shelves. But will that make the acceptance of emerging Asian consumer wares automatic? Probably not, but we'd better brace for it, because China and other countries will be home to a new wave of distinctly-branded products ranging from cars to fast food.

It took a few years of hand-wringing to get comfortable with Japanese and Korean entry and acceptance into the American economic picture (although even today, some die-hards refuse to buy Asian-branded cars, for instance). I'm sure there'll be a similar initial resistance toward Chinese and other newcomers, too. This especially will be the case if it impacts a long-familiar niche area; for instance:
The Philippines has Jollibee, a fast-food chain that claims to outdo McDonald's by more than 2-1 on its home turf - boasting a 65 per cent market share. Jollibee has expanded elsewhere, into markets including Hong Kong and Brunei where it's followed Filipino migrant workers.
So imagine if Jollibee "invaded" the U.S., and started kicking Ronald McDonald's ass. Mass revolts, I tell you!

It'll be interesting, if predictable, to see the societal impact if this comes off. I'd like to think that those Americans who can't fathom why the global spread of U.S.-based commercial ventures inspires such negativity would get a taste of what it feels like when they end up having to consume Chinese, Indian and Indonesian goods. But I doubt most people would make the intellectual linkage.