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Mickey Zhang

Mengting, Zhang (Mickey) received her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Bachelor of Arts, English (Business & Trade) from South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou and Master of Design in Advanced Practices from School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. After graduation, she participated in the interaction projects for The Hong Kong Heritage, Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB), Henderson Land, and Hong Kong International Airport, etc. Then she worked in School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and published three papers related to interaction design. After that, she joined Pauldesign, Ltd. and worked as design researcher and planner for the first Zero carbon building in Hong Kong for Hong Kong Construction Industry Council, the Chinese Electricity Generation and Distribution System for City Grow Co., Ltd, the Xinhua News Agency Photo Gallery, Vanke Plaza Shanghai Experience Center, Science Park Stage III, etc. In 2012, she joined School of Design, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as a PhD student. Her research focuses on building brand through design based on cross regional comparison.

Research Title
Contribution of Design in the Learning Curve of Innovation - A Study of ICT Brands In China

Supervisors
Prof. Cees de Bont (Chief Supervisor)
Dr. Xi hui Liu (Co-Supervisor)

About the Research
China is famous as the factory to the world, but even its best companies enjoy little global fame. One explanation for this phenomenon could be that most Chinese industries are high labor-intensive, low-intelligence manufacturers. This business model is largely involved in cutthroat competition, leaving profit margins razor thin. As the cost of raw materials, shipping and labor continue to rise, and the government’s tightening and restriction on monetary spending increases, Chinese companies are experiencing great pressure of cash crunch and revenue losses in a slower global growth environment (Dutta, 2011). Low price advantage and copying strategy cannot guarantee business success any longer. Companies are forced to move up the value chain with branded products in their export markets. As years of manufacturing consumer goods for Western markets have endowed Chinese businesses with the knowledge, capital and insights necessary for creating their own products and brands (Schept, 2011), this is a great opportunity for Chinese brand to transform from “Made in China” to “Branded in China”.

Concerning the successful global brands, design is viewed as a critical factor for building core competitiveness. In this instance, this research will study the relationship between design and brand, describe the current practice of Chinese companies and explore the characteristics of local brands and global brands. Main criteria representing the relationship will be listed and a brief structure will be established. Based on it, the practice of Chinese companies’ branding through design, their current perception issues, and lessons from the best global brands will be examined through case study. After that, the cross-region, country, and industry comparison will be conducted. Thus, characteristics and various models of developing brands through design in practice will be explored. Then an overall understanding of Chinese companies’ current practice can be described.

This research will offer a guideline or reference approach for Chinese companies to develop their own brands both in domestic and global markets. It could help them to decide effectively on brand and design strategy according to the specific situation they are in. This understanding is abstracted from both overseas’ experience and the local circumstance considering the particularities of China’s political, social, cultural, economic environment.

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