Bosideng, China’s largest down clothing brand, has been expanding into the global market since 1992, achieving this push in 2012. With revenue growth of 15.6% ($849 million) in the first half of FY22 and being the world’s number one down jacket seller from July to August 2021, Bosideng is undoubtedly growing both in and out of its local market.
But the brand’s journey of globalization has not been smooth over the past decade. In fact, they have encountered significant difficulties like many other Chinese brands that have set their sights on the global market.
Bosideng winter 2021 collection.
What is Bosideng’s biggest challenge in building a global brand?
In 2012, Bosideng opened a $46 million store in London, but it failed to gain traction and closed after operating for only five years. Even though they had a prominent location in London, people knew next to nothing about the brand or its history. As such, Bosideng could not attract UK customers.
Bosideng’s struggles highlight what many Chinese companies experience during their journeys of global market expansion. Their biggest issues have been learning how to build brand equity by creating an emotional and personal connection with consumers, something western brands already know how to do. Burberry and Unilever have built their brand names – as well as their customer bases – over decades. Western brands clearly understand the power of branding and storytelling, but Chinese brands – especially consumer-facing companies – have found success by establishing strong sales and distribution channels rather than an equity in name.
For example, you can see the Chinese smartphone brand OPPO everywhere in China, from big cities to small towns. They gained their brand image through offline presentations while focusing on sales and distribution. This description is the traditional Chinese way of developing a brand. It is difficult for Chinese brands to understand that to succeed in the West, they must modify their brand equity development strategy while adapting accordingly to market and consumer expectations.
For Bosideng to build its brand and penetrate global markets – especially Western markets – it must create a brand story and connect emotionally with customers. As a company with high-end technology and production capabilities, it is well equipped to develop campaigns that resonate with Western consumers. This will be essential for success abroad.
How has Bosideng made significant progress in the international market?
In recent years, Bosideng has reopened its flagship store in London and more than 350 high-end retail stores in Italy. His collaborations with international designers, coupled with fashion shows in London, Milan and New York, have helped Bosideng advance in the international market. For example, French designer and former artistic director of Hermès, Jean Paul Gaultier, has teamed up with Bosideng to create a new generation of down jackets: the JPGaultier X Bosideng, which demonstrated the strength of the brand’s design while gaining recognition from global fashion icons globally. With the endorsement of celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Kendall Jenner and Tom Hiddleston, Bosideng was able to gain more influence and establish a better foothold in the overseas market. And his collaborations have helped increase brand awareness in the West while having a positive impact on sales.
Jean Paul Gaultier has teamed up with Bosideng to create the next generation of down jackets, demonstrating the brand’s design strength.
Bosideng was included in the Brand Finance Clothing 50 for the first time in 2021, highlighting how far the brand has grown globally in recent years. The list, published by Brand Finance, is one of the top five ratings of international brands in the market, with only Bosideng and Moncler selected as down jacket brands.
Can Bosideng compete with Canada Goose and Moncler in the global market?
It’s hard to beat Canada Goose and Moncler, but there is a way to stand out and differentiate yourself from these competitors and achieve lasting success in the down jacket market. Creating evocative campaigns that leverage Chinese heritage would help the brand stand out from its global competitors while showing its uniqueness and engaging with Western audiences.
As more and more people start to move away from the negative connotations of “Made in China” and towards positive expressions like “Designed in China”, the brand can use it as a talking point with Western Gen Zers. and millennials. For Bosideng, life should be less about trying to beat Western brands and more about how to build a global brand that takes pride in its roots. And Bosideng can make it happen with his already solid strategies.