Some businesses related to US president-elect excel after general election, others not so much

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/22 18:38:39

Donald Trump gets traction in China


US president-elect Donald Trump, who just beat Hillary Clinton in the latest US presidential election, is a real estate tycoon whose businesses include golf courses and hotels. In some areas, his political achievement has been a boon to businesses in China, such as in the publishing and manufacturing industries. But that is not to say that the name Trump will be a windfall in every industry. Some of Trump's business hasn't gotten much traction in either the US or China.

Workers spray paint Donald Trump masks in October at a factory in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province. Photo: CFP

Workers spray paint Donald Trump masks in October at a factory in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province. Photo: CFP



Gong Wenjing didn't realize that her company had been taking business orders from the next US president until the results of the US presidential election came in.

According to Gong, president of the Songnian Industry and Trade Co in Wuhan, capital of Central China's ­Hubei Province, about two years ago, her company started to do packaging for the clothing brand owned by ­Donald Trump, who won the US presidential election against Hillary Clinton on November 8.

Right now, Gong's company primarily designs tags, plastic hangers and packaging boxes for the men's clothing brand Donald J. Trump.

"But the Trump brand is just one of the thousands of brands that we work with, and the business volume of his brand only accounts for less than 1 percent of our company's overall business," Gong noted.

At Gong's company, there is a "logo wall" bearing the logos of all the brands that Songnian works with, including the logo of Donald J. Trump, which hung inconspicuously in the corner.

"I didn't notice the brand until the day Trump won the election," she said.

As Trump participated in and eventually won the US election, his name is gradually showing more business values for some businessmen in China, while others, like Gong, said that impact of Trump's political triumph on their Trump-related businesses is very limited.

Some domestic businessmen also noted that they didn't care so much about the temporary brand effect brought by the US election results.

Publishing pickup

In China, the popularity of some Trump-related products has lasted beyond the US presidential election. For example, on many domestic online booksellers, books about Trump have grown more popular as news about the US presidential election has spread throughout China.

Trump's autobiography from the 1980s, The Art of the Deal, written by Donald Trump and Tony Schwartz, ranked eighth on the biography sales chart of domestic e-commerce website jd.com earlier this week.

Another book entitled Never Give Up - How I Turned My Biggest Challenges into Success, written by Trump and Meredith Mclver, ranked 38th on the same list, though jd.com didn't disclose sales figures of the two books.

According to domestic online platform dangdang.com, there are also about 10 books about Trump that were published in 2016, most of which were translated versions of books co-authored by Trump.

Besides, a series of recommended reading lists related to Donald Trump or the US presidential election have circulated widely on domestic social media platforms, according to media reports.

Trump trinkets

The US presidential election has also been accompanied by orders for Trump-related goods produced in China, some of which have remained popular with US customers even after the election.

For example, a latex art and crafts manufacturer in Jinhua, East China's Zhejiang Province, produced about 500,000 masks featuring the visages of either Trump or Clinton in 2016, with orders for Trump masks far eclipsing those for Clinton masks, according to a report in the 21st Century Business Herald newspaper on November 10.

Another mask manufacturer, in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, has been doing a brisk business since April making Trump masks.

At its peak, the Shenzhen company was producing thousands of Trump masks a day, the company spokesperson said. The company has sold about 200,000 Trump masks so far.

The spokesperson said that the masks remain popular, even after Trump won the presidential election.

However, another small manufacturer in Yiwu, Zhejiang, said that sales of goods like flags and masks usually spike during the US presidential campaign, but cool off after the election.

Wavering popularity

However, it isn't true that all products related to the next US president are surging in popularity.

Gong, whose company makes the packaging for the Trump men's clothing brand, said that Trump is not one of her big clients.

"Our business related to Trump is valued at less than 500,000 yuan ($72,500). For one thing, the price of clothing accessories like tags is relatively low. For another, the scale of Trump's clothing business is not that large in the global market," she said.

Gong's company, established about a decade ago, earned about 50 million yuan in revenue in 2015.

According to Gong, Donald J. Trump is a brand for business apparel such as suits, shirts and ties. But the brand is hardly known in the Chinese mainland market, and domestic customers rarely buy those clothes.

She also said that Trump's business comprises many brands. So if Trump does not focus on the clothing sector, his clothing brand won't be able to compete with other brands that specialize in making clothes.

"Now that Trump has turned from being a businessman to a politician, I guess he will pay even less attention to his clothing brand," Gong said.

She also stressed that Trump's brand effect will not have much impact on her company's business plan.

Trump's reality show, The Apprentice, is shown on the domestic video website youku.com, but the show's Chinese audience hasn't really grown since Trump won the election.

Data on the youku.com showed that the show's episodes have only gotten about 1.2 million views so far, a relatively low number.

An unidentified representative from the youku.com said they do not intend to introduce other Trump programs after he starts his term as president of the US.

The article is based on a report by China Business News.

    

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