Many Chinese vendors have quickly moved past the stereotype of the eager salesperson who presents you with an offer you can't understand.
In the Silver Lot at this week's CONEXPO-CON/AGG show, you can find impressive crane displays from Sany and Zoomlion. In the North Hall, Liugong's large earthmovers are rubbing shoulders with Komatsu's.
However, some Asian vendors are still lost in translation. Take Shantui, a large earthmoving company situated near Bobcat in the Gold Lot. Its main signage is riddled with mixed messages.
On most of its booth it is proud to inform you about "Value That Works." Really? As opposed to, say, value that doesn't work? Value either works or it doesn't. If it doesn't work, it pretty much has no value.
To confuse the matter, a sign on the back side of the booth says "Value at Work."
We found a third version of this message, inside an advertisement in a Chinese construction magazine—also full of bizarre syntax. The publication's booth in the South Hall also greets visitors with "We Are Magazine."
The Shantui ad reads, "Values at Work." In all three cases, the phrases are followed by a trademark symbol.
How's this for a fourth tagline: "Working on Value."
It's a sign of the times in this global economy. Not to beat up too much on the newbies in the market; plenty of established firms are verbally challenged as well.