These six local brands sprouted up to make some rich, some proud, and some nationally recognized. they put all of us on the map.
You know Nestlé. If you’re Swiss, it might make you homesick. You may not know Bojangles. If you’re from the American South, it evokes a craving for biscuits. If you’re British, that makes little sense at all; you’re thinking Cadbury Fingers instead. Here, in our bustling home, business leaders have more to offer than just quality products and keeping us in jobs. If you plan to learn more about the enterprises that make the city unique, here are some local brands that are worth putting on your to-know list.
NINE DRAGONS PAPER
The papermaking giant has drawn considerable amounts of attention in China’s media from the likes of the Xinhua News Agency and the South China Morning Post, because of its chairman, Zhang Yin, who in 2006 became the first woman to top “China’s Rich List,” a Forbe’s style ranking by the Hurun Report. She got her start working at the bottom rungs, as a purchaser in Hong Kong for a mainland paper company. In 1996, Zhang founded Nine Dragons. The industry in Dongguan is a competitive market, but Zhang says her company will maintain growing profits from areas like packaging. That’s thanks to China’s ever increasing affinity for online shopping.
COSMO LADY UNDERWEAR
This brand is quite popular among young Chinese girls. The story of its founder Zheng Yaonan rising from a security guard to be the owner of an underwear empire is quite inspirational. Zheng first worked as a security guard in a Wal-Mart in Shenzhen. But nothing is impossible for a willing heart. Zhang watched how the salespeople worked the products and studied customers’ behavior at Wal-Mart, which led him to open a small shop selling cosmetics. Cosmo Lady underwear, as a brand, did not have a big name when it first came into being in Dongguan’s Fenggang Town in 1998, but it has, since last year, been listed on the Hong Kong exchange.
“Buying clothes? Go to Humen Town,” is the golden rule for shoppers in Dongguan. Humen is home to manufacturers of clothing. And Yishion is one of the most well-known brands. They specialize in casual clothing and have gained a position in the youngsters’ market. While the factories in Dongguan have dominated the manufacturing market, Yishion is one of the few brands in Dongguan that has their own design team. The company now also has teams on brand management, product development and sales, leading it to be known for famous spokespersons including Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, actor Han Geng and South Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun.
CHINA EVERBRIGHT GROUP
If you live in Dongguan, there’s a fifty-fifty chance that you live in real estate developed by this company. It owns residential gardens including Guangda Garden, Kingview Spring, Top of the World, and many others in the central district of Dongguan and many spots in Songshan Lake. This year the company has started to pre-sell a nearly-built complex near the Dongguan Exhibition International Hotel. As the major local real estate brand, the company enjoys a reputation for quality homes in Dongguan.
ZHEN GONG FU
Specializing in steamed, Chinese fast food, this restaurant is more or less like a KFC or McDonald’s. But what’s rarely known is that this giant started as a small shop in Chang’an. In the year of 2010, Kung fu, already ranked No. 1 on top the Chinese fast food list, opened “Rice University.” The school offers a systematic education and training for key employees. The predecessor of the “university” is a school of management that the company founded in Dongguan back in 2003. In 2014, the former president of the company, Cai Dabiao, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for illegal appropriations. The company is currently headed by the brother of Cai’s wife, who is reportedly the real mastermind behind the company.
HE LIU SHAN
Born 10 years before Zhen Kung fu, this local brand, the one most foreigners call the “Swan Restaurant” due to its red and white bird logo, was once the older, wiser brother of the Dongguan fast food chains. Without clear positioning and specialization, it has been left far behind by competing younger siblings. Frank, an English teacher in Chang’an said he only knew Kung Fu when it comes to Chinese fast food brands. Hannah Salters, a teacher in Dongcheng said she didn’t know the name of this brand and hadn’t eaten there. She said that the Chinese places she had eaten were for dim sum and dumplings. Time might be more difficult for He Liu Shan as the newer chains emerged. The owner of He Liu Shan has focused on expanding outside the city, but you’ll rarely see the brand outside of Dongguan, making it the most home loving.