Famous Trademark status prompts higher profile

China Daily, October 19, 2020
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Creating a stronger sense of brand awareness has helped an enterprise in Sangzhi county, Hunan province, to thrive and bring better lives for the residents, according to a local entrepreneur.

Kanghua Reed Leaves in Sangzhi, which processes the fibrous leaves to make wrappers for zongzi, or glutinous rice dumplings, gained "Famous Trademark of Hunan" status in 2007.

Later, a poverty alleviation working group from the National Intellectual Property Administration urged Peng Likang, the company's president, to widen his ambitions and make the business a "Famous Trademark of China".

The group has been working to help reduce poverty in Sangzhi since its members arrived in 1995.

As the county is located in Hunan's mountainous northwest, where the land is only suitable for cultivation of reeds, not crops, the working group recommended that local people should fully exploit the potential of the zongzi wrapper industry by creating famous brands.

Gu Wei, an administration official and a member of the working group, is employed on a short-term placement as a deputy director of Sangzhi. He said being named as a famous Chinese trademark is an effective way of building a brand and raising a product's profile nationally, generating greater market share and higher revenue.

To help Kanghua Reed Leaves win more recognition and lay the foundations for an application to become a Famous Trademark of China, the administration working group guided the company in hosting the 14th China Zongzi Cultural Festival in the county from April 28 to May 1, 2018.

The event introduced Kanghua Reed Leaves to a large number of industry insiders from across the country, which led to the company signing sales contracts worth 60 million yuan ($9 million).

Peng said the company had to operate at full capacity to meet demand, but the orders guaranteed pay rises for every employee in the months that followed.

The development deepened Peng and his colleagues' understanding of the importance of building a famous brand, so they redoubled their efforts to improve the quality of the product and make it more popular.

After years of efforts by the company, with the help and guidance of the working group, Kanghua Reed Leaves finally obtained Famous Trademark of China status in August.

It has four subsidiaries across Hubei province and Hunan, and its products are sold in more than 25 provinces and regions nationwide. They are also exported to at least 16 countries and regions, such as the United States, Canada and Southeast Asia.

The company's growing prosperity has benefited a large number of local residents. According to Peng, 60,000 people in Hunan and Hubei are employed in planting, picking, purchasing, processing, selling and exporting the leaves. In Sangzhi alone, the company employs at least 9,000 people, with each of them earning 20,000 yuan a year on average, he said.