How Covid-19 became a fertile ground for the development of National Brand preference

Across countries, one of the effects of the Covid-19 crisis was to reinforce protectionism and nationalist sentiment. That was the case in China too, probably even more than anywhere else, but in a slightly different way, as the government played a significant role.


To help local brands through these trying times, the Chinese government has taken measures in various fields. One of these measures was the new features of China Brand Day (中国品牌日), rolled out online on May 10th 2020. China Brand Day was designed to encourage domestic brands’ “brand building” in all sectors, with a view to accelerate the transition from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’, from ‘China speed’ to ‘China Quality’, and from ‘Chinese product’ to ‘Chinese Brand’.


How did it translate into concrete actions?

  • Massive promotion of Chinese brands’ stories on mainstream media. Over 1,300 national brands participated in the China Brand Day Online Expo this year.
  • The launch of Chinese National Brand Expos in several provinces, where brands from sectors ranging from manufacturing and services to culture or technology, gathered to demonstrate their history and innovation power, and present new products and services.
  • The international forum of China Brand Development, where discussions were held about future policies aimed at further accelerating the development of Chinese brands and changing their image.


This year, CCTV participated in the Reinvigorating China Through National Brands project (品牌强国工程) via a variety of promotion events.

  • Over 30 national brands went on Yang Shi Ping (a 5g video app, developed by CCTV) to promote the new products of domestic brands such as Lenovo, Hisense, Wanda or Ping An insurance.


  • Austin Li (Li Jia Qi) teamed up with famous CCTV host, Zhu Guang Quan, for a livestreaming on the night of Chinese Brand Day (May 10th). They hosted an online sales event for a variety of quality national products and promoted domestic brands. One example of very positive outcome was Mercury home textile’s sales result of 3.3 million yuan following the livestreaming session.


These government initiatives definitely play a significant role in influencing Chinese consumers purchase behaviors.


The National brand preference trend is present across sectors such as technology (Xiaomi, Huawei), home appliances (Gree, Haier), food & beverages (Yan Qi Sen Lin, Mengniu) or Sport & Outdoor (Li-ning, Anta).


It is also accelerating in the beauty sector, especially in the mass and masstige segments.


As a result, a great number of C-beauty brands have been soaring and this trend will definitely continue in 2020 & 2021. Consumer patriotism, an aesthetic shift, and a hyper-digitized retail reality — all of which grew during the COVID-19 pandemic — have made conditions favorable for C-beauty brands over the long term.


Tmall has launched its spring thunder initiative, starting with the goal of helping 1,000 emerging beauty brands achieve over RMB10 million ($1.41 million) each in annual sales in the coming year.


In the last June 18 Shopping Festival, 4 out of top 10 best-selling beauty brands were C-beauty brands, including Perfect Diary, HomeFacial Pro, Winona and Huaxizi (source: Tmall sales data).


On China Brand Day, Li Jiaqi, one of the Top KOLs, has named 23 quality C-beauty brands in his livestreaming. Bouncy Red Ginseng Essence Beauty Cream, newly launched by Marie Dalgar, was the only base makeup product in the selection. The ‘bun’-like design of its applicator generated hot discussion on social media.



Consumers’ interest in C-beauty brands specializing in Chinese herbal ingredients was triggered due to the heavier usage of Chinese herbal formulas during the pandemic. For example, Inoherb recently launched its new premium line “Inoherb Tang”, which brings back the power of an ancient formula through modern technology. The main claim is that the amount of Chinese herb ingredients in the products reaches 60%.



This is a new challenge for accessible foreign Beauty brands that will have to adapt, and find a way to display a deeper commitment to, and understanding of, Chinese culture.