Asian hi-tech manufacturers still shy away from marketing.

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The Android operating system for cell phones has become a household name and Google proudly announced that the number of activations has surpassed the 500 million mark. The Asian manufacturing giants on whose devices Android is installed however keep a fairly low profile with regard to marketing and branding. Sarah Mishkin analyzes in "The Financial Times" why.
HTC, Asus and Acer, to name some better known companies, manufacture the complete hardware or significant parts for companies like Google, Apple or HP. But only a few of them, like Samsung, have become brands by themselves. The manufacturers have proven track records in developing and delivering high quality products but marketing and branding are still new to them. From the psychological side they have to fight old prejudices. Especially Taiwan is often associated with “cheap electronics”. Furthermore they still struggle to connect their products with emotions and visions. Finally their operating margins are 0.5 to 5%, much lower than, for example, Apple’s 30%. As a consequence they can hardly compete with companies like Samsung and Apple which spend about 6 times more on marketing than a typical manufacturer does.
Besides the difficulty of emancipation from a manufacturer’s role, the cultural individualism-collectivism dimension could possibly have some impact on marketing. For European and US companies "sticking out" and creating a culture around themselves and their products comes naturally. Operating out of a more collectivist society it is harder to link marketing to the individualist way of life and mindset cherished in the Western Hemisphere.