Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Value of Mobile Marketing

As the popularity of traditional media channels is starting to wane with the larger marketers, newer interactive media, such as online and mobile, are growing in popularity with both marketers and their most desirable consumer targets: youthful demographic groups.

In fact, Forrester Research projects that spending on online and mobile marketing will experience double-digit growth rates through 2010. Additionally, more and more media purchasing discussions are starting to be framed by new interactive media channels rather than being driven by 30-second TV spots. With close to 500 million mobile users in China, it would be unwise for companies to have ignored the true value of mobile marketing.

I am, of course, ecstatic that major brands, agencies and consumers in China have warmed significantly to new media channels, especially mobile. Even so, I am concerned that the true opportunities afforded by mobile and other new media are being overshadowed, and in many cases ignored, due to confusion created by marketers' and consumers' displeasure with traditional channels.

The true value of mobile will not be maximised if it is used as just another channel for invasive, tired or static marketing approaches. The true value of mobile is simple yet quite powerful. When integrated into what you do today, mobile personalizes your experience and engages audiences in new, more flexible ways, enabling your existing channels to more effectively accomplish what each one does best.

Moreover, mobile also provide marketers with something they have always desired: real-time performance indicators on campaign performance. There has never been a more real-time, always-on and closed-loop marketing channel available to help marketers quantifiably measure and quickly adjust their marketing investments.

Welcome to the new world of mobile marketing and advertising. After all, new media channels such as mobile are providing marketers with an opportunity to close the door on a long period of inefficient, blind and disruptive marketing and open the door to a more transparent, cost-effective integrated approach to marketing. Now that's something even your customers will be happy about.

Mobile phones to fuel Internet growth

Google vice-president and chief Internet evangelist Vinton G. Cerf predicted Tuesday that mobile phones, not personal computers, will fuel growth of the worldwide Web, as countries like India snap up millions of handsets monthly.

From 50 million in 1997, the number of people who have logged onto the Internet has exploded to nearly 1.1 billion, Cerf, who is considered one of the founding fathers of the Internet, said.

Yet the Internet only reaches a sixth of the world's population, Cerf told reporters during a visit to Bangalore, known as India's Silicon Valley, where Google has a research and development facility.

"You will get those other 5.5 billion people only when affordability increases and the cost of communication goes down," said Cerf, 63, who joined Google in 2005. "The mobile phone has become an important factor in the Internet revolution."

Worldwide there are 2.5 billion mobile-phone users, whose numbers are growing rapidly in developing countries, led by China and India, the world's most populous countries, Cerf said in his presentation.

Cerf was the co-designer with Robert Kahn of the basic architecture of the Internet.

In 2005, they both received the highest civilian honor bestowed in the US, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which recognized that their work on the software code used to transmit data across the Internet has put them "at the forefront of a digital revolution that has transformed global commerce, communication, and entertainment."

I cant agree more with Cerf, as its there are more data enabled mobile phones in china than PCs. Long live the mobile phones!!!

Samsung's pan-Asian social network service opens

Uberme, a Myspace-like blogging/social networking service from Samsung Mobile, has launched. Featurewise, it's got the whole pakcage; videos, photos, blogs, groups, etc. But the key differentiator of Uberme might be its focus on mobile: Uberme aims to provide as good an user experience on mobile phones as on the online.

All in all, the service looks similar to Myspace and Bebo. But then, none of the big name social network services of the US have established a very strong foothold in the Asian market, perhaps except for Windows Live Spaces. This gives Uberme a chance to become a big player in Asia. Uberme is available in 8 Asian countries including China and now they are doing an interesting promotion called "Uberhot: In search of Asia's hottest guys and gals". Samsung could be the right company to provide this kind of service, given its mobile phones are sold everywhere in Asia.

My reservation is whats the long-term viability of this service? Will a manufacturer-driven service be more successful than that of the specialty players (i.e.Youtube for video, Flickr for photo, etc)? For example, If I had bought a Sony digital camcorder, even if Sony offered a video hosting and sharing service, I would probably just want to post my videos up on Youtube than on Sony's service. What do you think??

Put a number on it

We're rich! We're rich! We're all rich. Seth Godin points us to dnscoop.com. Have fun.

It's viral because it's interesting, not because it's accurate. And it's interesting partly because it talks about how much money you have. Sort of the new fortune telling.

SMS to be $67bn Industry by 2012

A report from Portio Research is forecasting SMS revenues to reach $67 billion. The increase is mostly attributed to an expected increase in mobile subscriber base from 2.61 to 4.81 billion, sending 3.7 trillion messages. The Asian markets are expected to grow the fastest, comprising 50% of the subscriber base by 2008.

SMS accounts for approximately 75-80% of carrier's non-voice plan revenue, with voice plans comprising 80% of worldwide mobile revenue. Competition amongst carriers has been eroding voice margins and mobile content providers for ring tones and wallpapers are on their last legs, with users more easily accessing content over the internet. Consequently, carriers should be turning their attention to other higher value data services. SMS has been the fastest growing messaging service, but the pricer MMS, e-mail, and mobile IM are expected to grow healthily as well.

The Idle Mobile Screen

Celltick, pioneer of Active Content Marketing, has introduced a new medium into the mobile space. Its flagship product, LiveScreen Media, allows content providers and advertisers to broadcast targeted content messages to millions of mobile phone idle screens, turning them into a network of interactive personal billboards and creating a strong revenue stream for operators.

Operators around the world are now beginning to discover an unused asset that has the potential to blow the mobile content market wide open: the idle screen on the mobile.

What's Idle Screen?

The idle screen is what the phone reverts to whenever it's not in use. Sometimes it acts as a clock, and most of the time it's just blank or empty.

What the idle screen could be carrying is a stream of engaging, intriguing, relevant content 'snacks' that alert users to the existence of fresh mobile content while bringing them one click away from that content.

Idle screen applications are gaining momentum because they offer unique advantages which cannt be replicated on portals alone :

1. No touch initiation - all the user has to do is glance
2. One click interaction - linking directly to revenue-generating services
3. Zero intrusion - content arrives silently and disappears when the phone is used
4. Targeting - content can be aimed at specific user segments.

Celltick's LiveScreen is an active content discovery system that delivers a new kind of experience to mobile users. It transforms the otherwise idle screen into an engaging series of relevant 'conten bites', designed to entertain and drive traffic to the operator's revenue generating services.

How it works?
Celltick's LiveScreen server delivers a stream of targetted 'teasers' to the idle screen. These could include celebrity gossip, news headlines, sports scores, music news, games, polls, offers, promotions or sponsored content.

Each teaser carries behind it a 'mini menu', giving the user a choice of actions - anything from downloading a ring tone to reading a news story, entering a contest or taking part in a community-driven poll. The mini menu choices present a range of targeted links to content personalized based on the user's profile, preferences and past usage pattenrs to maximize relevance.

Teasers arrive silently and disappear when the phone is used. No intrustion, just new opportunities to interact and discover.

Great Product and I m sure many operators will find this solution creative and in fact some had already implemented Celltick's LiveScreen solution.

Honda mobile advertising campaign reached millions of Thailand's AIS subscribers using Celltick's LiveScreen. The campaign was aimed to raise brand awareness for Honda motorbikes. Interactive sponsored safety tips were broadcast daily to users’ idle-screen. The result - 3m unique impressions in 3 weeks, more than 100,000 users clicked to participate in a prize draw. Very Impressive......

Monday, February 26, 2007

Mobile phone used to spy on unfaithful spouses

Spouse Spies.....Watch out whats underneath your mobile phone!!

From mobile phones that double as transmitters to private eyes in far-away countries, companies in taiwan are banking on the suspicions of spouses...

Responding to popular demand among wives whose husbands frequently visit China on business, due diligence companies are marketing new mobile phone eavesdropping technology for wives to listen in on their hubbies' phone conversations there. ...

When eavesdropping is not enough, many due diligence companies can ratchet up their services to include paying off Chinese police to follow a cheating Taiwanese husband and catch him, literally, with his pants down, the report added. You can refer to the original article here : http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2007/02/23/2003349848

China Internet expansion in 2006: an overview.

Here is an excellent article written by Chen Jing on China Internet expansion in 2006: an overview.

In this relatively calm year, business power stood out. Venture capital has been withdrawn from pure Web 2.0 website promptly as investors can't envisage the rational profit mode. However, internet giants started integration with Web 2.0. Search engines like Baidu.com and Google.com began to build themselves into a huge community to share favorites and information, to seek an approach to enhance profits by increasing client faithfulness.

This year, internet has become an effective component for traditional marketing. More merchants chose to issue advertisements and sell products on internet. In virtue of rapid growth of advertisements on internet, the financial statements of the third quarter of 2006 shows that revenue and profits of three major portal websites including Sina.com, Sohu.com and Netease.com exceeded expectations. Taobao.com witnessed the store-in-store establishment of Lenovo and Haier.

This year, internet has really become a tool. Under the trend of economic globalization, technology dynamics represented by internet are directly changing the business ecology in multiple sectors. Technology innovation not only aims at interesting life, but also makes internet more useful as inherent business ecology chain is integrated on the basis of new technology.
Internet plays more and more important role in game rules of business world. Internet development in 2006 is the year of consolidation through combination, incorporation and integration.

Business value orientation of internet can be fully witnessed from attitude to venture capital investment. Innovation mode and profits of the website may have been separated clearly. 2006 has been regarded as the year for Web 2.0 to achieve excellence. However, application modes such as blog, classified information, vertical search, convergence portal, video sharing, making friends on forum can not provide commercialized services, the information on reducing redundant has come out one after another by bokee.com, zhongsou.com, daqi.com and mop.com. Venture capital has been withdrawn promptly and pure Web 2.0 websites suffer from cold wave.

Pure Web 2.0 website can not gain profits but Web 2.0 mode starts to gain favor of internet giants and application mode is developing deeply. In 2006, both overseas websites such as Yahoo, Google, America online (AOL), Microsoft, and domestic websites such as Baidu, Sina, Sohu and Tencent have launched relevant or similar programs.

Ding Lei, CEO of NetEase, expressed that the main income of Web 2.0 websites still comes from internet advertisement. Portal websites with a good many, long term and faithful users appeal more to advertisements. On the other hand, the introduction of Web 2.0 mode may enhance user faithfulness to portal websites. "This integrated mode will exist for certain period."

It is easily seen by any ordinary internet user that a series of commodities from prepaid calling card to infant milk powder can be conveniently purchased in 2006. Joyo.com and dangdang.com exert their efforts to transform them from internet bookstores focusing on books and audio and video products to comprehensive internet shopping centers. Joyo.com has oriented the target consumers at office ladies, while sales of other commodities except for books and audio and video products has accounted for 60 percent of total sales of dangdang.com. Wang Hanhua, President of Joyo.com said that the competition advantage of online retail mode lies in saving store rentals and more management cost. For retail sector with micro profit for subsistence, online retail mode takes more advantage over the traditional retail sector in this respect.

Meanwhile, taobao.com known as C2C (customer to customer internet transaction) has stepped into B2C (Business to customer internet transaction) area. According to Mayun, Chairman of Alibaba.com, "profit mode of traditional B2C rests with depressing prices of manufactures to gain price difference from the purchased price and sold price. However, new B2C mode will help merchants directly serve as sellers to push them to face consumers directly, hence to enable manufacturers to gain more profits."

Business expansion of e-commerce enterprises has formed an inundant trend. Online and offline retail modes make retail market form a new pattern. As a result, Carrefour declared to establish internet store to step into e-commerce sector in first half of 2006; while Gome, a home appliances chain enterprise, started to establish e-commerce department and its internet store has stepped into the phase of official operation.

Internet has started to profoundly change traditional operation approach of certain industries. In September 2006, only two weeks after The Night Banquet being projected, internet users can download licensed internet edition of The Night Banquet with 90 minute in length free of charge through films and TV series program of Baidu.com. The mode of "free of charge plus internet advertisements" will combine contents providers with internet service providers.
Integration injects new concepts to traditional industry and digital music sets an outstanding example. The traditional mode encountered copyright difficulty with disc corporations developing products, several songs being combined into an album, publishing corporations being responsible for brand promotion and retail corporations delivering products to end users. On the major premises of internet, digital music and wireless music downloads, music production cost has been decreased. Dissemination by internet has been realized, therefore, the approach to music consumption is not purchasing album but downloading single song and Coloring Ring Back Tone (CRBT).

There has no mature website to download digital music in China, but Coloring Ring Back Tone for mobile phone has been popular among common people. According to Lu Deming, an analyst of CCID Consulting, licensed music is more likely to develop through mobile phone terminal. It is of success for Apple Itunes in online music market to link digital contents with hardware by utilizing copyright protection components.

"If only keeping to income generated by traditional albums, Chinese disc corporations are now resting upon brokerage for sustention. Song Ke, Managing Director of Taihe Rye Music Co., Ltd., said, "application of wireless technology such as Coloring Ring Back Tone enables us to make money, and one song can earn RMB hundreds of thousands yuan. With the popularity and application of internet, mobile phone, MP3, wireless music and digital music have injected new concepts to this industry."

Top 10 Marketing Innovations that will Change Everything

An extract from the Evil Marketer that i thought was very interesting .... Any comments???

Top 10 Marketing Innovations that will Change Everything

The U.S., despite slowly losing its dominance in science and technology as the world experiences further flattening, will continue to lead the world in its export of culture and popular media. I assume there’s not much debate about that — one can certainly imagine the next Microsoft or Google coming from India or maybe China, but not the next Madonna or Star Wars or Friends. Central to that cultural strength is our ability to market, as well as the increasing blend of marketing and media/entertainment we’re seeing every day. As the platform for that entertainment changes drastically from the boxes in our living room to our computer screen and mobile phone display and ipod, and as the source of that entertainment changes from centralized behemoths to individual users, marketing is going to change drastically as well. Those changes are going to fundamentally alter the way we experience our media, the brands we use, and even our relationships to each other and the ways we make an income, and because of our influence in these areas, they will change the world.Here, briefly, are 9 of those changes. Why not 10? I’m an evil marketer and I wouldn’t feel right giving you exactly what you expected, that’s why. *evil laugh* Though not written in stone, the technology and/or marketing models already exists for many of them, and the others seem not only feasible but likely.

1. The Rise of the Influencer Network
The notion in marketing of an influencer — someone that drives customers to certain brands based on their level of trust and respect — has been around a long time. But never has it been more important. Influencers used to be much harder to find, had a much smaller base of customers, and were impossible to track; all of that has changed. Anyone anywhere with a certain level of expertise in a certain niche can use a blog to gain the trust of a certain amount of users; these blogs are easy to find, links from them are easy to track, and the potential user base of a blog is almost unlimited. All that’s left is a centralized system to organize these influencers and put them in contact with advertisers so that anyone with a little influence in a little niche can profit.

2. Free Internet, Mobile, and Cable
All of these services are already being consolidated into one package by providers. The amazing amount of data available to a single company that can track your internet usage, phone calls, and TV watching habits is worth a lot of money to advertisers. If you’re willing to let your provider share that info with advertisers (fairly anonymously), they can afford to give you the bandwidth for free, and will.

3. Language and Economic Barriers Disappear
Real time online translation is just a few years away. As soon as those language barriers disappear, not only can you have close friends anywhere in the world regardless of nationality (greatly expanding the power of social networks and the marketing tied to them), but us evil marketers will have instant access to markets that previously had these barriers in place. If you think our culture and the associated marketing machine behind it is powerful now (having already been given an enormous boost by the internet), just wait until our cultural influence can spread even more easily to people around the world and marketing messages and platforms are automatically multilingual. Combine that with a rapidly emerging middle class in India and China and potential audience for products grows exponentially. Influencers in each cultural niche will still be needed to craft messages, but that should be handled by #1 above.

4. Google Loses its Core Audience to Wikis
Google is no longer my favorite search engine; it’s increasingly more driven by large advertisers (both paid and natural search) and I’ve found much better results using wikipedia or a service like sidekiq if I want to look for something more specific. I’m not the only one who feels that way, either. Most people in the industry seem to use Google more for competitive research than actual search. Next to stop using it will be people like my mom, and once they’ve lost her, the one trick pony will have a broken leg. The effects of this shift are hard to predict; but because they currently control about 50% of search and a huge chunk of every advertising dollar, the shift will certainly benefit smaller niche networks and start money flowing there instead. There will also be a shift back to content sites that actually contribute something to the conversation rather than just linking everywhere.

5. No More Starving Artists
An exaggeration of course — there will always be starving artists who deserve to starve. But now that anyone with any level of talent can find an audience, they should be able to monetize their talent via sponsorships or even direct marketing. We already see a rise in independent filmmakers and writers giving their works away for free in exchange for traffic and influence; once there are more systems in place to easily monetize this traffic and influence most people with talent should be able to make enough to cover food costs each month.

6. The Mobile Phone Rules Your World
I know, it already does. But we haven’t even touched the marketing potential of the device. Once we accept the use of our cell phones as a payment device, and once phone technologies like mobile coupons, map coupons, cameraphone scanners or mobile price comparison become more mainstream, the ways we shop — especially when we are buying offline — will change forever. Coupled with GPS and better mapping technologies, you will be alerted to coupons as you pass stores, or have the ability to recommend a product or movie to a friend with a phone-coupon — and you’ll get a commission for that referral. That sort of incentive will allow viral marketing to be trackable offline and will allow everyone to profit from brands and products they want to recommend.

7. Brands get Personal
In the under-rated movie Idiocracy, the protagonist finds himself in a future world where us evil marketers have essentially destroyed culture; among other effects, people are named after brands — Frito and Mountain Dew, for instance. While this is (probably) far-fetched, there will be much closer relationships between people and the brands they use in the future. We already see overt branding of sports figures and venues — NASCAR has given almost everything available for branding; the wildly successful Nike/Michael Jordan campaigns 20 years ago equated his airness with his shoes; almost all sports stadiums are now branded. This effort has been grounded in pure mass market branding — spending billions of dollars to make your brand ever-present without actually measuring the impact of the spend. What if instead Apple could “brand” the top 3 coolest students in every high school and actually measure the impact of them wearing their shirts, always having an iPod or iMac with them, promoting Apple on their MySpace account, etc? Social networks that concentrate on schools make the identification, the measurement and the organization of such a campaign possible. Which do you think would be more effective, spending a billion dollars on a TV commercial campaign or giving away $10,000 scholarships each to “brand” 100,000 teenagers?

8. True Behavioral Targeting
Behavioral targeting is in the stone age of its evolution at best. A consumer visits a car site, pop him (or her, you probably don’t even know) a car ad on the next page load. Yawn. What we evil marketers need are three things: more data, better data, and mo’ better data. We don’t have enough data on all of you yet because of those ridiculous concerns about privacy. Here’s a piece of news for you — we don’t care that you are a rich guy into women’s lingerie or a poor grandmother who visits the High Times website or a middle class teen goth who is downloading Barry Manilow mp3’s. Well, let me rephrase that — we do care about your gender, your economic status, and the things you might want to buy, but we could care less who you are. When all is said and done, we have the same interests as you do — not to show you ads that don’t matter to you or irritate you but instead show you ads for things you want and can afford and need right now. Let us know more about you — anonymously — and we will invest billions of dollars of our own money to develop technology that can target ads to you that will be so timely it will seem like we are in your head. You will know immediately that Macy’s is having a sale on panties or that the head shop around the corner is giving away a free one hitter with every bong purchase over $20 or that Barry has just released a limited edition box set, and you will love us for it. And as mentioned in #2 above, we’ll even give you stuff.

9. No More Ads
You read that correctly. And I didn’t mean, “No! More Ads?” either. Every time us evil marketers come up with a new way to push an advertisement at you, you figure out a way to ignore it. Spam, pop ups, tv commercials, banner ads — all of them are blockable or skippable or at worst ignorable. Even Google AdSense text links are starting to fade into the background for many savvy users and should start to lose their effectiveness over time. You’ve taught us something — you hate ads. Yet we spend billions giving you more of them. Why? I’d argue at this point it’s sheer laziness combined with old-school thinking and just general stiffness. There are so many more effective ways to make you discover our products — word of mouth, sponsorships, incentive marketing, product placement and more — all of which happen (or at least appear to happen) naturally and unobtrusively and will work much much better and are much much more measurable. None of the other 8 innovations above need standard ads to work, and most of them won’t even work with standard ads. Don’t get me wrong — you will be exposed to branding everywhere and your friends may be recommending products in exchange for commissions and you will have coupons and cash back offers popping up on your cell phone at appropriate times, but they won’t be ads as you know them now.

What do you think?

Mobile Entertainment and Mobile Advertising

The Promise of the Mobile Market

For all of the excitement over online video, the jubilation over the promise of mobile entertainment looms larger, but perhaps that is because few analysts or companies have managed to wrap their arms around the market. Like the Web before it, there are numerous challenges facing the marketplace, both in terms of consumer adoption and monetization.

But the promise is considerable:

- To properly put things into context, the world's population stands at over 6.5 billion people, with China (1.3 billion), India (1.1 billion) and the USA (300 million) leading the way. When ranked by Internet users, Asia leads the way with at 389 million Internet users, followed by Europe with 313 million and North America, with 232 million. In terms of penetration, North America leads the world with nearly 70% reach. Clearly, the USA leads the world with 207 million Internet users, with China in second place with 140 as of last dec 2006 million users. But China isnt going to stay in second place for long as it will surely overtake USA before the end of 2008 to be the world largest Internet users.

- The China mobile market, according to reports from China's Ministry of Information Industry , has an estimated 461 million mobile subscribers in 2006.
In other words there are more mobile subscribers than there are Internet users in China. Clearly, mobile is the fastest-growing new digital media platform. But this does not suggest that mobile has – and will – experience uninterrupted growth. After the initial burst of growth, mobile content is struggling to break out of the early adopter segment and achieve mass consumption.

Time will tell if the growth curve will kick back into high gear, but mobile entertainment will certainly go through some road bumps as the crucial transition to third-generation mobile telephony, or 3G, takes shape next year when new 3G licenses are issued.

The 3 C's : Content, Community, Commerce

What the Web has proven, of course, is that advertisers follow audiences. But audiences follow content. That is what the web has proven. Creating content, making it free online, creating a community around it, and commerce will flourish. On some sites, such as eBay and Amazon.com, commerce came in the form of transactions. This is what drove the first wave of the World Wide Web’s growth from 1994 to 2003. From 2003, commerce has been fueled largely by advertising. The challenge faced by the mobile entertainment industry in china right now is a basically lack of compelling content on the Web.

History Repeats Itself

Of course, it should be noted that today's handsets are not exactly weak by any stretch of the imagination. After all, today's average handheld device, be it from Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, or Sony Ericsson boasts the equivalent processing power of a desktop computer from 1995. If history repeats itself – and it always does – and mobile has overtaken the Web as the fastest-growing new content platform in history, then it should be noted that what ensued online after 1995 was the explosion of the Internet with the creation of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee and the launch of the web browser Mosaic by Netscape Communications. Of course, what really made the Web sticky was the quality of the content that flourished after 1995. ISPs began to offer more than connections to the Web and email addresses, they added content to retain users and engage them.

Similarly, if handheld devices have the firepower of a computer in 1995, then the right mobile content could change the name of the game. After all, currently, mobile carriers bill themselves as reliable telephone services that offer nationwide coverage. In other words, content is an afterthought. If that philosophy changes, then the dynamics of mobile entertainment will improve and realize their promise, and ideally, the theory goes, so will mobile advertising, which is slated to drive the mobile market into fully becoming the fastest-growing new digital media and content platform in history of china online industry.

Nokia Sold 51 Million Mobile Phones In China Last Year

The performance report of global mobile phone giant Nokia shows that the company's sales worldwide reached EU41.1 billion in 2006, accounting for 36% of the world's total mobile phone share, and the company sold more than 51 million mobile phones in China during the year.

Nokia China, says that the burgeoning China and India market has contributed the most to Nokia's top position in the world's mobile phone market. Nokia's mobile phone sales in China has already taken up 13% of the company's total sales in the global market. At present, Nokia holds up to 35% of the market share in China, ranking tops among all mobile phone manufacturers.

Nokia has created not only a branding in China but also the simplicity that had given tremendous consideration to User Experience. Afterall its the simplicity that we all want.

China - World largest Internet Population by end of 2008

China is expected to overtake the United States to have the world's largest Internet population within two years, a quasi-government organization reported recently. The CNNIC report found that Internet access in China is going increasingly broadband and mobile. The country had 90.7 million broadband users by 2006, up 41.1 percent year-on-year. And about 17 million mobile phones users are now using their handsets to access the Web regularly and this number is increasing exponentially. CNNIC, said an increasingly mobile lifestyle in China could help spark an even bigger Internet boom. The growth of China's Internet population could get a boost after the country rolls out 3G (third generation) mobile telephony, which promises faster Internet access and downloads of data-heavy services such as videos. China had 461 million mobile phone users by the end of 2006, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Information Industry.

Why Online or Web Advertising in China will continue to increase.

This is my second day of work after the Chinese Spring Festival. Having spent the holiday doing extensive research on China's internet and mobile advertising market, i must come to a conclusion that the market is huge in view of the existing size of the traditional advertising market, whereby china spent a whoppingUS$50 billion of ad advertising in 2006. Thats a third of what is spent in the US. Quite a phenomena for an economy and an advertising industry that was almost no where on the international scene some 20 years ago. Bulk of the ad spending had been budgetted for tv commercials. The big chinese broadcasters are having a fantastic bull run enjoying one of the best growth and the highest profit ever.

In contrast, spending on web or online advertising in china has been relatively small in comparison, with no more than US600 million spent in the year of 2006. US is estimated to have spent in the region of US$14-15 billion for 2006. With an internet population that had just surpassed 140 million and growing at the pace of 800,000 users per week, the internet population in china will surpass that of the US in 2008. If the US is spending $14-15billion, it just doesnt make sense why a nation with 7/10 of the internet population in the US is only spending as fraction of what is spent in the US. Lets not forget the internet users in China spent a great deal of time browsing, chatting and playing games on the internet. As highlighted by Jan Van den Bergh :

"Half of the internet users are extremely young Chinese addicted to games" said a 4A's boss recently here in Shanghai. The reality is that only 17% are younger than 18, that 35% is in between 18 and 24....and that the rest (65,000,000 Chinese!!) is older than 24 probably living in the area and a large part of them probably earningmore than RMB 40,000/year. The recent survey conducted by the China Internet Network Center (CNNIC) proved even that the Chinese do exactly the same things asthe rest of the world's users: check e-mail (56.1%), read the news (53.5%) and searchfor (51.5%) and acquire information (41.0%).

With the internet population of china continues to grow exponentially, it will be a matter of time before more ad spending will be apportioned more logically. This will further be fuelled with the Wireless Advertising when 3G takes off in China by next year. With Mobile subscribers reaching the 500 million mark and mobile phone becoming an integral part and personal item of the mobile user, its just a matter of time before advertisers will be rushing into a new media of advertising call "Mobile Advertising."

With the capability of targeting the right audience , its what the advertisers had been wishing and dreaming of; building a scalable and highly interactive one on one customer relationship. For the first time the advertisers could review and discover the effectiveness of their advertising in real time. Thats the power of targetted mobile marketing and advertising.

In conclusion, with so much dynamics in the fast growing advertising industry in china, I m confident that online advertising will continue to grow exponentially. With the beginning of the new Piggie year, I can only wish all the best to all the internet and digital media players in China and rest of the world....

Sunday, February 25, 2007

First day of business in China

Its the first day of business in China. Happy New Year again to everybody. Its back to work and business as usual. The rat race to the top starts all over again after a week long of spring festival celebration with fireworks going off practically every other minute through out the whole week. It has been a real experience as it was my first time living out of malaysia during the spring festival. I had never seen so much fireworks before and i must say that the local chinese spent a great deal of time and money to put this firework exhibitions together, be it in a small or big way. Its just amazing.... This would be what i would term as a real CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION....

Saturday, February 24, 2007

My First Blog in China

Good day everybody and happy new year to all the chinese in china and around the world. Its my first experience and also my first time at blogging. I hope to be able to contribute what i know and what i had learned over the years with regards to the mobile business in china.

China is BIG. China is growing phenomenally. China has tremendous opportunities and such phrases go on and on. These are the common phrases that had been said and mentioned several times by writers and reporters. Its true to a great extent that such are the phenomena of China and many had rushed into China over the years with or without preparation. Some had made it big and many had suffered financially.

China is unique to me in a sense that while its a big country that is united with one mandarin language, its divest in many ways as different chinese from different provinces speak different dialects and having different cultures and customs. At the end of the day, its a multi cultural and multi dialects nation. Thus doing business in china require more than just the understanding of the mandarin language.

In China everybody associate doing business with building "guanxi" or in english building relationship. No guanxi no business. So thats the basic rule of business in china. The next problem is with divest cultures and dialects, how do you then build such guanxi? I always thought that being able to speak mandarin was one way to build guanxi. I was wrong. Even being a foreign chinese carries no special privilege. What more when you are a non chinese. In fact even local chinese who hailed from other provinces are not even treated as equal. The Shanghainese has little respect for anybody thats not from shanghai. They treat them like peasants from other provinces. Such are the challenges that many of us had to face and confront in order to build our guanxi in major cities like shanghai and beijing.

Having said the above, i still believe that there are a lot of opportunities in China as the country is big enough and has sufficient economic dynamics and size for everybody. Its not easy and its very competitive. Only the fittest will survive. Its really up to you to ask your self whether you have the same flexibility, the competitiveness and the agility to survive in this environment. In my next blog, i will be blogging on the phenomena rise of the mobile and internet industry in china and where its heading and what opportunities lie ahead......

alvin foo