Man About Asia Ep3 : Same Same but very Different

So continuing our journey of carrying out business in Asia, in episode 3 ‘Same Same But Different’ we tackle arguably the greatest opportunity and most challenging market of all, China.

It is hard to summaries any market let alone one like China, but here we go.

Three key take outs: -

  • Think of China as a region of mega cities rather than one single country;
  • Build your business thinking from the ground up rather than thinking global down, many of your global strategies will have to be adapted to be successful;
  • Look over your shoulder, no in front of you as Chinese brands are after your customers $’s and they move smarter and innovate faster than most of us in the west can dream off

The entire episode can we watched here: -

In conjunction with this episode The Drum published the following article

What Marketers need to know about China’s unique and challenging homegrown media landscape

To accompany each episode of our Man About Asia series, we’re asking some of the region’s top marketers for their advice on everything from the first things you need to know before flying out to finding the right location when you get there.

This week, the focus is on China, and getting to grips with its unique media landscape. As MullenLowe Profero’s Wayne Arnold says in the film:

“It is the one place on planet Earth that the Silicon Valley kings do not dominate.”

“You’ll never hear a Chinese person talking about googling something or updating their Facebook status. Mainly because of the restrictions by the Chinese government, it’s the Silicon dragons that dominate the market place, the two biggest players being Tencent and Alibaba.”

With that in mind, we’re asking: What challenges and opportunities does working in this largely homegrown media landscape present for marketers?

Wayne is absolutely right. China’s tremendous development into a web nation is mainly due to the restriction on a lot of foreign technology companies.
Without Google, Chinese surfers and searchers started searching with Baidu which is much smoother and fluent in Chinese and stuck with it.
With no access to international social media, Chinese social animals grew up in Kaixin, Ren Ren, Weibo and now Wechat. These are much closer to their culture and lifestyle and they do not feel deprived without Facebook and Twitter.
China’s vast population feeds the development of these technologies and developers are quick in noticing global innovations. What they bring to Chinese customers are much more culturally relevant and user-friendly than their foreign counterparts.
High price points of international products drive local imitations. Xiaomi smartphones are a fraction of Apple’s price. Foreign and local smartphone brands drove usage and together they pushed China to become the world’s largest smartphone population.
Mobile internet has already overtaken PC. Getting online anywhere any time has become a lifestyle, creating a quick and huge transformation in consumption, entertainment, news and information dissemination, personal finance, etc.
Innovation is driving a real cultural revolution in China!
China’s media environment offers a significant number of challenges for multinational marketers.
All traditional media companies from national TV broadcaster CCTV to regional satellite players and even magazines and newspapers are state-owned, so don’t expect them to play fair or act like western commercial media. Corruption and under-table deals are common.
On the plus side, most of the consumers who want and can afford products sold by MNCs in China aren’t paying attention to traditional media anyway, they can be reached far more effectively through digital media, which also means working with domestic companies like Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba.
They aren’t necessarily any easier to deal with, however. Alibaba, for instance, is the key player for vital e-commerce sales, and it pays far more attention to meeting the needs of consumers than those of retailers.
There is also a lack of transparency, and little third-party data, which makes it hard to trust information like views of online videos on Youku and Tudou, and rates for digital media advertising have risen dramatically in recent years.
Is there good news? Yes, the situation is likely to get easier in the future as real-time bidding and other automated services start to inject some transparency into the system. For now, aim for patience and rely on experts to guide you through the system.

Normandy Madden is senior VP, content development, Asia-Pacific at Thoughtful Media Group, and executive producer of “Thoughtful China”

HOST : Wayne Arnold Global CEO MullenLowe Profero, Chairman of Marketing Society Southeast Asia.
In partnership with MullenLowe Profero
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