198695: Industrial Design�Acceptance in ChinaThere were complications and changes in government policies toward the economicreformation throughout the 1980s and in their implementation. The progress of societyand industrial development was affected by all of this. It was a particularly difficulttime for business. However, those companies that emphasized marketing andmanagement continued. By the end of the 1980s, household appliances had become
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one of the major industries in China and competition was strong. Individual companiesbegan to realize the importance of brand building and the role of design in thiscontext. Corporate identity quickly rose to strategic significance. Graphic design firmsbegan to provide branding services to corporations but many companies were underthe illusion that visual identity alone could achieve market success for them.The first freelance design office in China was set up in Beijing in 1986. It didnotsurvive for more than six months. Then in 1988, Southland Industrial Design wasfounded in Guangzhou by three staff from the Guangzhou Fine Arts Academy. SouthlandIndustrial Design is today considered to be the first successful and officially registeredindustrial design firm in China. It focused on providing design services to theDesign and Design Management in China 425emerging private household appliance manufacturing companies in the Pearl RiverDelta region of the Guangdong province.Six years later, the Haier Group of China and the GK Company of Japan cofoundedQHG. This consultancy focused on the development of Haier products.QHG was the first Chineseoverseas joint venture design company. GK brought�the processes and methods of modern industrial design and management to supportHaier in advancing new product development and innovation. Haier, in turn, wasaggressive in strategic marketing and in the promotion of its product and services.The joint venture had a role in quickly establishing Haier as one of the most famoushousehold appliance brands in China. Other companies, for example, Konka, Changhong,Hisense, TCL and Skyworth, also developed important brands and had growninto the largest manufacturers of household appliances in China by the end of the1990s.Beginning in the 1990s, Chinese companies started to establish their own designdepartments. Initially, industrial design was positioned and managed within engineeringand production departments. Designwas mainly the replication of product ��samplesand styles from overseas and product developmentwas merely reproduction or��partial alteration of an existing design. Most companies were close followers ofoverseasdesigns. There were few concepts or strategies for original design development.In 1992, Design, published by the China Industrial Design Association, was thefirst magazine in China focusing on industrial design. The magazine was very importantfor the dissemination of industrial design knowledge to the society of the time.
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