Media ranks Chinese investments high, PR lacking: survey

Updated: 2014-07-21 06:10

By Bruna Gamain Rio de Janeiro (China Daily USA)

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Brazilian media ranks Chinese investments positive for their country, but a lack of knowledge about China's business culture and a limited pulic relations effort may undermine that view, according to a survey released by Brazilian communication agency In Press.

According to the survey, Chinese investments have a positive impact of 77.2 percent on Brazilian media and the country is regarded as a partner for Brazil's growth.

Media ranks Chinese investments high, PR lacking: survey

"This has a lot to do with the investments Chinese companies make here. There is a perception that China helps Brazil's development," said Janaina Silveira, development business executive at In Press.

However, some cultural differences when it comes to business get in the way of an even more positive perception of Chinese companies in Brazil, according to In Press.

There is the matter of open communication by companies. In Brazil, In Press observed, "Companies build their reputations on a solid ground set by a permanent and open communication channel between media and corporations." In that scenario, a lack of spokespeople designated by Chinese companies to deal with the local media poses a problem.

"Sometimes, when you try to talk with a Chinese company, they do not have a spokesperson or prefer not to talk. It reveals a cultural difference between the two countries. In Brazil, it is very common that companies have spokespeople and hold media training sessions to teach them to deal with media," Silveira said.

Silveira believes that Chinese companies are a shy on communication matters, despite their heavy investments in Brazil. It is something that can be improved. "In Brazil, it is important that companies have a good reputation that is built on their relationship with the government and with the media. Showing your face, showing transparence and integration with the country's culture is essential," she said. "It is important to have a local connection."

In addition, Brazilians have little knowledge of Chinese industrial production, sometimes not even knowing that companies such as Lenovo are Chinese. They also view China's production in a somewhat old-fashioned manner, Silveira said.

"Brazilians still think of China as they did in the 1980s or 1990s, when they started exporting a lot to us," she said.

Exports at the time were comprised of mainly inexpensive consumer goodsand China's production is still widely associated with those cheaper products, even though there are large Chinese companies in the country operating in the auto, electronics, and energy sectors.

"You need to work on building a company's reputation to ensure that business is done in an easier manner," Silveira said.

Economic relations between China and Brazil have grown significantly since the countries established diplomatic relations in 1974. Bilateral trade amounted to US$83.3 billion last year. China has been Brazil's largest trade partner since 2009, when it surpassed the United States.

Those figures are expected to grow, as new investments and joint initiatives were announced last week when Chinese President Xi Jinping made a State visit to Brazil, the first since he took office. The visit also marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between the two countries.

In addition to meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the Chinese leader also participated in the Sixth BRICS Summit, a diplomatic meeting of major emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia,India, China and South Africa.

For China Daily