Business / Companies

How dealer of dodgy motorcycle spare parts started own brand

By He Yini ( Updated: 2015-12-08 14:26

How dealer of dodgy motorcycle spare parts started own brand

Yu Guoping (center), owner of the motorcycle spare parts brand YGP, talks with his Arican clients at his shop in the Guangzhou Baiyun Motorcycle Accessories Wholesale Market in China's Guangdong province. [Photo by He Yini/]

When Yu Guoping came to Guangzhou two decades ago, he dreamed nothing more than just selling bunches of Chinese motorcycle accessories to businessmen from home and abroad.

He didn't really care which brand he was selling or whether the quality deserved the price, as long as he made as much money as he could to feed and clothe and shelter himself in the emerging southern city.

"The market was largely unchecked back in those days when counterfeit and low-quality goods were rife," said Yu, admitting that prices trumped all when selling Chinese products without the protection of intellectual property rights.

However, profits lure competitors, which then squeezes profits. Yu had to find another way to keep his business from continued slowdown and survive highs and lows of trade.

He established his own brand, with the trademark of YGP, in 2008, targeting mainly African countries.

"Promoting a new brand is like raising your own baby. It may be tough at first, but the boy will become strong and stand out if given time and efforts," said Yu. "You don't have much leeway of pricing if you keep selling other companies' products."

Yu is actually among the many who chose the road in the Guangzhou Baiyun Motorcycle Accessories Wholesale Market, a leading spare parts distributing center in the world with an annual trade volume of billions of dollars.

The center exports about 80 percent of its products, mostly to African countries.

Up to now, as much as 70 percent of vendors in the center have created their own brands, according to Zeng Rilang, a board member of the Market.

"Many people have realized that counterfeiting is just an expedient. They have to work on their own brands with their own intellectual property in order to survive in the longer run," Zeng said. "Opportunities are huge as there are more than 3,700 spare parts in a single motorcycle."

His view is shared by Yu. "Our business becomes more sustainable as long as our products are good in both quality and price," Yu said. "Word of mouth is very important."

Saifoulaye Balde, a businessman from Liberia, has been one of Yu's loyal customers: "I have been doing business with Yu for seven, eight years. He is an honest man and his products are good."

"Chinese products have become increasingly better along the years, despite counterfeits that seem to never disappear," he added.

Yu told China Daily that he has been paying much attention to the quality of his products for these years, and making huge efforts to fight against their counterfeits both in China and in Africa. He even put up a notice in front of this shop, rewarding 200,000 yuan ($31,238) to those who alert him on counterfeiters.

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