Category Archives: Bitch

One world two systems: Three areas of divide Culture, Technology, Internal trade

These daze it seems all that it bright and sparkly either is news from China or made in China. We not all is a shiny and bright at it may seem. And no this is not a blog on the crippling smog in China. It is about something much more subtle but equally damaging. Please note that I am not making an indictment for or against China’s position I am merely going to describe it so business persons can make informed choices about commerce in or with China.Dougs Blog great firewall of china

Culture:

Last week I attended a Salon hosted by Marc and Chantall a highly respected branding agency. The topic was the phenomenon of travel of Mainland Chinese. 100 million Chinese travelled outside the country in 2014 and the numbers go up and up. What is more interesting than the huge numbers wanting to travel outside the country is there reasons. The top reasons presented at the Salon was to see and be part of different cultures. A holiday was to truly “leave China”. A few of the sights from the salon are here. This in itself is not curious as many tourists look to alternative holidays to escape the common, but none as many as in China. Now the queer bit, this same week Beijing announced that textbooks that portrayed Western lifestyle would be banned from schools as reported by the Business Insider. So the curiosity is why so many Chinese are eager to leave “China” and the government is willing to let them then what exactly is the purpose of censuring textbooks?

Summary: Chinese are crazy to leave their country and experience new things. The marketing opportunity is to capture this opportunity. The home court advantage is where you can really shine.

Technology:

The great “Firewall” of China has been in place since the beginning of Internet. It had been used to provide added benefit to China apps by limiting the effectiveness of other world apps. Baidu is the best example. For 10 years it was, for all intents and purposes, the only search engine in China. And with a business plan no more complicated than copy Google they still couldn’t find their ass with both hands tied behind their back. Some search engine. But Baidu was not built to be an effective search engine, it was designed to effectively filter and manage information. Google is now blocked in China including gmail and related apps. Instagram was the first app to have a native API to Sina Weibo, now shut down. Facebook has been shut out except for some rare opening that are more for show than use. Recently VPN traffic has been closed and now China is effectively  isolated from the digital world. Many have placed hopes on WeChat to reach the mainland audience and businesses are flocking to China agencies to help them set up and run WeChat accounts. What most don’t know is that without a Mainland China Business Registration your WeChat account will NOT reach the Mainland users. It is restricted to “Rest of world”. So as RenRen, Sina Weibo and Alibaba reach out to the West with IPO’s eager for new revenue sources, the China government says “It is a one way street going out only!”

Summary: China is a world unto itself. The only way to effectively reach China is through engaging with China travellers or to develop a separate strategy in China based exclusively on its digital norms and apps.

Freedom of Trade in China:

It is often a struggle for rest of world business to compete inside Mainland China. More than ten Years ago my boss at IBM made the statement “I can buy all the market share you want, but I can not earn you a profit”.  Whereas the finality of that statement might not have been completely true its message is clear and unchanged. Rest of world brands are finding narrowing margins and sliding sales as costs in China continue to rise and local brands enjoy better treatment and acceptance. An interview on Econsultancy with Clarins Head of Digital Julien Chiavassa describes clearly the challenges faced. The limited amount of sites to promote products form an almost monopoly that force ever higher tariffs as profits rise essentially neutralizing profit and incentive. From additional regulations, to limited sources for promotion and many other barriers, China systematically removes incentives to operate in China and it is getting worse not better. The direction China is taking is to replace rest of world brands with China brands. I have interviewed and talked to many rest of world brands, luxury, hotel, clothing, you name it and when I ask how are you “your company” doing in China. I am lucky if I get an “its ok”.

Summary:

If you are doing business in China for anything other than export, good luck.

Much success,

Doug

PRDA Asia

http://www.PRDA.Asia is a leading social media management agency

China, A Star is Born

China is like a new star being born. It is a huge gaseous all encompassing mass that seems to touch everything and then it starts to contract pulling back on itself getting denser and hotter until from its own weight fusion starts and at its core an almost endless cycle of sustained energy created.  While still generating huge outward energy, keeping smaller satellites in its grasp but needing nothing but itself to maintain.  China’s policies have been in place for thousands of years with little change. The Middle Kingdon has little interest in what lies beyond its borders except for those that pay them homage or to which they grant oblige by providing a taste of their magnificence. Today is not different. The Great Firewall is stronger than the Great wall ever was.

And China’s control of itself and influence on rest of world is complete. If trade export with China stopped the global damage would be far worse outside China than within. China is preparing with great ferocity for a China only world again. Good goods going in for sale must pass arbitrary standards, modern communication apps are denied, full stop and censure ship of the few social communication apps keep conversations polite or they stop! But China is taking much greater strides than this. They are building an internal economy that exists with complete absence from imports. During the recent baby milk scare, it was believe that imports of foreign (safe) baby formula increase huge as parents did what ever they could to safe guard their one baby. But government intervention through barriers and rumors actually forced a 2.2% decrease in foreign baby formula during this time and increased local sales. A recent article in the JIng daily has shown that local brands are quickly trumping foreign luxury brands for the cash of the China consumer. China customers have long demonstrated a preferred taste for local brands with many Western companies having failed to break into the China Market. But this is different. Now with greater access to brand information, outside media and extensive travel, they are still choosing domestic brands. China is a country imploding on itself. In many ways it always has, but this new financial and manufacturing strength may finally create a globe of 2 worlds.

Much success,

Doug

 

 

 

http://jingdaily.com/china-shopper-report-local-brands-gain-ground-on-foreign-rivals/

China hates sex, uses WeChat to track down offenders

I am American where displays of horrific violence is good entertainment, but suggestions of intimacy between people justifies a Supreme Court Ruling so I know something about being messed up about sex. Of course, not messed up like the German’s and Japanese – I think they have their own chapter in the DSM3.  But messed up enough to know that China needs to get themselves sorted. Chinese have over a billion people and we can assume from that they know how to put the round peg in the . . .  hole. Additionally, the Chinese are genetically represented virtually everywhere in the world. I like that, it shows great openness toward new cultures if not outright friendliness full stop. So why do they play these insane games with themselves.

China crack down on prostitution with WeChat

China instated a one child rule when there was no practical form of contraception. This had got to have been a challenge not to mention full on frustrating. So you would think that alternative ways to allow the “overflow” to escape would be made available. But noooooooooo! China has maintained a zero tolerance on pornography, GASP, YES! and has kept a very dim view on prostitution. The exception being in State run hotels where officials can charge it to their expense accounts. China now seems to be taking a much harder stance on prostitution and social media is proving to be one of their best weapons in the fight. Ain’t nothing like a little sexting and a lot of monitoring to bring down the poonany trade. I have always been an advocate of responsible sex practices. Consenting adults, respect, and all that other stuff, but I am concerned about living so close to a country with over a billion people that can’t get their nut. I am feeling a little like living in Pompeii just before Mount Vesuvius blows.

Wish us luck,

Doug

Did Sina Weibo get too big for its britches?

Sina Weibo is becoming quite uppity following it successful U.S. IPO which generated a quarter million USD with its Nasdaq listing. In advance of listing Sina Weibo started to “clean” itself up making  it more attractive to foreign investors and reduce conflict with China regulators.  This “clean up” almost derailed the IPO because Sina Weibo did 2 things that made it look like the app had reached it zenith and was sliding down the backside. They:

Fat man

  1. Shut down comments to restrict social noize
  2. Cleared out zombie and questionable accounts

 

These two actions, understandably, looked like serious government intervention and a huge slow down of Sina Weibo as a viable and growing social site. It is in fact, just the opposite and these actions by Sina Weibo were a brave. Most Westerners not familiar with Chinese social sites may not be aware that social pollution is an important part of Chinese marketing strategy. Appearance is everything and so use of Fake profiles (zombie accounts) and paid comments (gunners) is “the” core strategy of China marketing. Sina Weibo dealt this a blow in advance of the IPO to deliver more accurate user numbers.

 

And then it all changed. Post IPO Sina Weibo has gotten a little full of itself. Considering it only raised half the money it wanted that half seemed to go straight to its head. Sina Weibo again did 2 things:

 

  1. Zombie accounts rise from the dead: After cleaning up the numbers for the IPO they then must have realized that to continue to support the share price continued demonstration of growth real or otherwise.
  2. That’s a months salary!? I have been delivering social media solutions to China for 10 years and in the 10 years service has been consistent. . . non existent! But post IPO they have implemented a fee structure for getting Verified and even with payment of the fee they still won’t respond. They have gone full blown mainland service on the world.

 

The fees structure, regardless of the service level, is creating a burden on business. Many small businesses are taking advantage of the marketing benefits of social media, but increasingly these benefits are being put out of reach by fees and restricted functionality. A Verification from Sina Weibo is only RMB 2,400 (U.S. 300) which does not seem like much, but that is the monthly salary of a University graduate in China. When put into perspective it is a lot of money. Sina Weibo maybe focusing on big business but 90% of business pages are from small business and that means that 90% of the business content likely comes from small business. Think about it.

Much success,

Doug

PRDA Asia

http://www.PRDA.Asia is a leading social media management agency

Too big for your britches

Facebook get your head out of your ass!

It started some years back when Mark Eliot Zuckerberg visited RenRen in China. At the time RenRen was the star of China’s social media frontier but the business model was insane. They were charging US$65,000 per year for a business to have a page on their site. This was just the page, no additional advertising. When Mark returned to the U.S. Facebook immediately release a whole slew of RenRen like marketing options. . . surprise? Well the lesson from this should be that RenRen soon died or, more precisely, is a brain dead corpse on life support that investors refuse to pull the plug on. Apparently when money is involved some lessons are harder to learn.

And now lesson number 2.

In December 2013  Facebook made a change that literally, not figuratively, destroyed what had made it arguably the most successful communication application in the history of the world. They all but shut down the social graph. What does this mean? Well the social graph is a fancy way of saying “word of mouth” or how you and me share stuff with our friends. Facebook was based entirely on this and it is the reason it spread to 1.3 billion people so fast. Because friends shared with friends. But Facebook last December said “we don’t care what you have to say and nobody else does either. So if you want to be heard you have to PAY! Most of us do not see a big change because it is largely hidden from our view. In the past when a post was made our friends Liked and Commented, but also many others got to see it too, it touched their lives. Under the new rules only the tightest circle gets to see. Let’s put it in context:

I first learned of the devastating Japan 2012 earthquake on Facebook from distant friends. That was when the social graph was in full effect. But now with these new restrictions it is questionable whether I would learn about it on Facebook today. The sphere of influence has shrunk greatly, it is a type of censorship has been put in place unless payment is made.

 So why is Facebook doing this? Basically because they are lazy turds. Advertising is the world’s second oldest profession, but for reasons unknown the greatest minds of the world can not seem to find a replacement. Maybe we need to look at China again as they  learned their lesson when Facebook did not.

The current wave of apps coming up in China are not supported by a traditional advertising model. Instead they offer value added services to Fans at a cost to businesses and through sale of virtual goods. I could go on at length with case studies here, but I think I will save them for another blog.

Much success,

Doug

PRDA Asia

http://www.PRDA.Asia is Asia’s leading social media management agency

Who me? Yes I am talking to you!

I am really quite peeved with a growing group of sharing sluts that take no responsibility for their actions and are more concerned with their self aggrandizement than contributing anything of value. Perhaps I am a little more invested than the average person because I am a long time student of human behavior and pretty heavy into social media. During the years I have seen dramatic shifts in the decline of “Share” quality. I find this very disappointing as I am a staunch believer that the greatest aspect of social media is that everyone of us has an equal voice. It is the democratization of the Internet and with that comes some responsibility.  There are two basic actions that I find particularly offensive.

1. Several weeks ago an executive in a prominent social media agency posted, what seemed to be, an outrageous article. I called him on it and his reply was “don’t shoot the messenger”. Well, yes I am going to F***ing shoot the messenger. When you chose to select a piece of content and republish it under your name there is accountability. Social media posting allows adding a comment so your position on the content can be made clear. If you choose not to use this then . . .

who-me 2

2. The second is those people that contribute nothing to the conversation other than a stream of reposted, prepackaged content. If these posts are truly an expression of your sentiment, then that is fine. But you could, at the very least, add the smallest comment to personalize it. To demonstrate that you are human and not some bot pulling down content based on keywords and shooting it back out. If adding the smallest of comment is too great a burden than perhaps you should go lie down and rest rather than posting. Really, I think you should.

Recently a friend posted a quote written by him and passed down from his mother;

 “I am a man of few words because my mum used to teach me – if you don’t have anything constructive to say, breathing is better than speaking.” – Michael Lam

Much success,

Doug