Despite the less-than-optimistic birth rate in recent years, the continuous growth of the Chinese mother and baby market is evident. With the increase in per capita disposable income and the enhancement of consumption capacity among families with infants and young children, the Chinese mother and baby market has remained on a steady growth trajectory. According to data from iResearch, the maternal and infant consumption scale in China reached CNY 3,459.1 billion in 2021.
Looking ahead, the Chinese mother and baby market is expected to maintain its stable growth trend, with the market size projected to reach CNY 4,679.7 billion by 2025. Against this backdrop, major maternal and infant brands and platforms are embarking on a path of innovation and change.
MAKUKU (Chinese: 麦酷酷), a mother and baby care brand, stands out with its strong capabilities and innovative strategies. Founded by Jiang Zhengzhen, an individual from the post-80s generation and former head of OPPO's overseas marketing department, the brand has leveraged his rich international market experience to emerge as a rising star in the mother and baby industry. Its Pre-A round of financing amounting to USD 30 million (approximately CNY 202 million) further underscores its exceptional market potential.
Recently, EqualOcean had the privilege to interview Mr Jiang, and the following are the key highlights from the interview:
Brand Moat: Focusing on Product Leadership
When asked about MAKUKU's brand moat, Jiang Zhengzhen emphasized the critical role of products. He delved into the analysis, stating that products are not only a concentrated representation of brand value but also the cornerstone of building a brand moat. MAKUKU remains at the forefront of product innovation, continuously iterating materials, processes, and technologies while closely attending to consumer needs. Their commitment lies in providing infants with more comfortable and safer products. He highlighted that continuous product iteration is key to maintaining brand vitality, and consumer demand serves as an essential guide for product innovation. Placing consumer needs at the core, MAKUKU thoroughly studies the market and gathers user feedback to accurately grasp consumer expectations. Based on these insights, they constantly explore new materials and designs to ensure products reach the highest standards in functionality and comfort, leading to market trends. This ongoing innovation drives brand differentiation, ensuring MAKUKU stands out in the fiercely competitive maternal and infant market.
Product Lifecycle Management: Balancing New and Old Products
Addressing concerns that rapid product iteration might lead to consumer dissatisfaction and unsold old products, Jiang Zhengzhen pointed out that effective product lifecycle management is crucial. He believed that by vigilantly monitoring changes in the sales process, it's possible to control the timing of introducing new and old products and determine the best inventory approach. He explained that the introduction of new products should be based on market demand and consumer acceptance. At the same time, he emphasized that new and old products can coexist in the market, as different consumers have varying preferences and needs. This balanced product management approach aims to achieve sustained market share and brand influence.
Overseas Markets: Rising to Challenges, Precise Positioning is Key
MAKUKU's overseas expansion strategy is particularly noteworthy. Jiang Zhengzhen explicitly noted that the choice of foreign markets is based on thorough insights into market demands and competitive landscapes. He has focused MAKUKU's attention on Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Middle East—regions characterized by higher birth rates and a larger number of children, making them hotspots in the mother and baby market.
However, Jiang Zhengzhen also acknowledged that in these markets, Chinese brands face challenges related to existing impressions and competition from established brands. He believes that entering foreign markets requires not only superior products but also strategic patience, persistent investment, and a gradual shift in consumer perceptions to secure market share.
Marketing Strategy: Targeting a Younger Audience, Comprehensive Communication
In terms of marketing, MAKUKU adopts precise targeting. MAKUKU's primary consumer group consists of young mothers and families with infants and young children, who are inclined to gather information through the Internet. Therefore, MAKUKU actively utilizes platforms like TikTok to create abundant content, conveying product information to consumers, explaining how to choose suitable products for babies, and disseminating new products and technologies.
Furthermore, within offline stores, MAKUKU not only has sales advisors but also organizes salon events, educating consumers about their products through hands-on experiences and interactions. Jiang Zhengzhen firmly believes that this precise targeting and diversified communication approach are pivotal to MAKUKU's success in foreign markets.
Challenges and Opportunities: Overcoming Core Difficulties
Facing substantial challenges, Jiang Zhengzhen candidly admitted that the core members of MAKUKU's founding team are not experts in the mother and baby industry but rather individuals from the mobile phone sector. Nevertheless, it is precisely due to this change in background that MAKUKU has been able to find new entry points and market opportunities within the industry.
Regarding the consideration for transformation, Jiang Zhengzhen explained that when choosing their entrepreneurial direction, they focused on the future market potential, growth space, and relatively stable high-profit industries. This mindset led them to set aside conventions and embrace the new blue ocean of the mother and baby home sector.
Localization Strategy: Embracing Diverse Cultures
When discussing MAKUKU's overseas market layout, Jiang Zhengzhen emphasized the importance of localization. He noted that localization encompasses not only local talent but also production, management, and various other aspects. MAKUKU actively endeavors to localize by integrating Chinese and local teams, fostering local talent to assume crucial roles.
As for cultural integration, Jiang Zhengzhen emphasized that enterprises should respect religious beliefs and embrace diverse cultures. Building such a corporate culture helps mitigate potential cultural conflicts, while also enhancing team cohesion and cooperation.
Jiang Zhengzhen also revealed that online sales for MAKUKU account for about 20% during the interview, while offline sales make up 80%. This proportion is even more pronounced in the Indonesian market, where the mother and baby home market accounts for 10% of the overall market, while offline sales make up 90%. Particularly noteworthy, MAKUKU has successfully gained a larger market share compared to competing brands through online channels like TikTok and Shopee, proving the tangible effectiveness of its multi-channel strategy.
Future Trends: Innovatively Fusing Opportunities
Regarding the trends in the mother and baby home industry over the next three years, Jiang Zhengzhen pointed out that factors like the pandemic have led to a decline in China's birth rate and saturated market capacity. Therefore, companies must seek growth opportunities in overseas markets. He provides novel insights into the outbound strategy, believing that successful future models will require innovative fusion in both supply chain and brand building to ensure genuine localization, thus yielding significant results.