P&G connecting with Chinese consumers

(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-05 22:07
Large Medium Small

P&G connecting with Chinese consumers

American consumer product giant Procter & Gamble Co (P&G) is hoping to get into the psyche of Chinese people as the sponsor of the United States pavilion looks to next year's Shanghai Expo to increase its consumer base in China.

The Fortune 500 company's external relations officer Christopher Hassall described its sponsorship of the US' involvement in the May to October event as the perfect fit as his country continues to seek ties with one of the world's most important markets.

"The expo is a great way to connect our brands with another stepping stone in the development of China and China's real emergence on the world stage starting with the Beijing Olympics last year," said Hassall.

P&G connecting with Chinese consumers

Christopher Hassall Courtesy photo 

Hassall said the event further provides his company, one that has been in China for some 20 years, a timely opportunity to gain added knowledge on how business today is done in Shanghai and China.

"We are working with the expo officials to better understand the proper ways of carrying individual brands at the expo, and potentially, for events that are linked to the expo. There are a lot of ways to connect our brands with consumers by how we market our brands in-store," he said.

With an official budget of $4.2 billion for the event, Shanghai intends to carve a place in expo history by topping previous milestones reached by the pioneer World's Fair in 1851 in London, the 1889 Pairs Expo which produced the Eiffel Tower and the 1893 Columbia Expo which introduced the Ferris wheel.

As the Shanghai World Expo aims to serve as a one-two punch showing China's rising global clout on the heels of the Beijing Olympics, Hassall emphasized it is an event the 14th-largest American company by profit is taking seriously.

"We have a long-term viewpoint," he said. "We think it is important as part of our continued investment in our business in China, and our connection with consumers in China."

Hassall added that having P&G invested in the Shanghai Expo not only shows solidarity between Shanghai, China and US governments, but also makes good business sense, especially given the fact that US companies have been shying away from the event due the fallout of the global financial crisis.

Apart from lending monetary support to the US for the expo, P&G will market a number of its products at the 2010 party.

US critics were earlier concerned that American companies would miss out on the opportunities of a lifetime at the Shanghai gala without their commitment to sponsor the US' participation in the event. (US law prevents government funds from being used for international fairs).

The US was among the last handful of countries to sign up for a presence at the expo in July.

P&G jumped aboard this ship in November, confirming themselves as a major US sponsor alongside other American multinationals including PepsiCo and General Electric.