Shocking news: people in different countries enjoy different things! Still, it’s strange to see familiar middling brands that no one really cares for where you live that are inexplicably high-end elsewhere. Not just because they’re more scarce or exotic, but sometimes just because the brands are completely different once they’re exported.
Marketwatch shared a few of these in slideshow form recently. Here are the highlights:
Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844: In China, PBR introduced a cask-aged ale that is surprisingly not terrible. It retails for $44 per bottle.
Four-Star HoJos:Yes, Howard Johnson still exists, and is part of Wyndham Hotel Group. While it’s a budget motel here in the U.S., it’s inexplicably a much fancier hotel in China. Seriously, they’re four or five-star spots. . HoJos in China have amenities like spas and rooftop tennis courts.
Glamorous Buicks: Today, we’re most likely to think of Buick as the General Motors brand for old people, but they’re a luxury brand in China. How luxurious? GM sold almost four times as many Buicks in China as in this country last year.
Slightly fancier Pizza Huts: You might think of Pizza Hut as crappy chain food, but the experience is different in China, where the chain is more popular as a sit-down restaurant than a takeout spot. “You don’t think fast food when you walk in, you think restaurant,” one American working as an executive in China told Marketwatch. “They’re more like a Chili’s or an Applebee’s.” A different class of chain food, then.
High-end Budweiser: As an import, the beer-like substance costs more than domestic brews and has some cachet.
5 brands that are fancy in China but c-list in the U.S. [MarketWatch]