Friday, March 30, 2007

The Rising Power of Chinese Bloggers

Chinese consumers depend a lot on word of mouth and a circle of trust when choosing products

Multi-nationals are increasingly looking to reach China's emerging middle class through the Internet. Companies are turning to the Internet to advertise because the Internet is where Chinese consumers spend the most time, more than TV or other media.

Online advertising is booming in China as marketers have begun to recognize the shift in consumer habits. iResearch, an independent consulting firm, forecasts the online ad market to grow at least 30% annually for the next eight years. The numbers of both Baidu, the leading search engine in China with approximately a 70% market share, and Google have been increasing as they ramp up their China operations. In 2006, Baidu pulled in $106 million in online marketing revenue in China while Google brought in $32 million compared to only $38.1 million for Baidu in 2005 and $19.4 million for Google. The numbers show that more and more companies are buying into the idea that online advertising works.

There are approximately 140 million users online in China, according to the China Internet Network Information Center, which forecasts that in less than five years China will overtake the United States as the largest group of Internet users as broadband services are rolled out into fourth and fifth tier cities and as disposable incomes increase. The Chinese are already the world's heaviest Internet users, spending more time online than any other nationality, including Japanese and Americans. The average amount of time people spend on the Internet in China has risen to 17 hours a week from 10 hours in 2002. This compares with just 13.9 hours a week in Japan and 11.7 hours in the United States.

To understand and get close to these consumers, the Internet is a great vehicle.

China's youth segment spends a great deal of its online time engaged in active discussion of products and advertising through blogs and BBS (Bulletin board system) forums. They talk about what they like and dislike about companies and life in general on the approximately 120 million active blogs in China. These opinions have tremendous effects on Chinese consumers as they often trust the opinions of bloggers and BBS posters more than they do the traditional media outlets.

There are several reasons Internet advertising is especially effective in China. First, there is a lack of ethics in many parts of the Chinese business community. For example, there is a lot of abuse of consumer trust in the food and drug industries. Because of this, people do not trust traditional advertising that much. Instead, they depend a lot on word of mouth and a circle of trust when choosing products.

The Challenges Ahead

The trend in interactive advertising in China will continue as e-commerce develops in China and more of the population gains access to the Internet. More so than in many other countries, every available surface in China is used to advertise brands with the end result that people are often numb to, and wary of, traditional media.

Through interactive campaigns, companies are finding ways to involve consumers and develop brand affiliation stickiness that will carry forward as younger consumers age into higher paying jobs. In two to three years from now there will be a much larger Internet community in China. The challenge for marketers is to leverage the Internet and mobile channels to drive business.

In a country where mobile phone users outnumber Internet users at almost 4 to 1 and will soon be able to surf the web via their mobile phones, marketers need to create the right interactive campaigns and strategies to tap into Chinese consumers demands to use their mobile devices and the Internet. The companies that are able to will benefit from the increasing consumerism of China's aspiring, middle, and affluent classes.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

China's Casee Launches Mobile Cost Per Click Ads Network

Beijing based Casee is doing similar business to Shanghai based Madhouse Inc and Focus Media (Nasdaq: FMCN). WAP sites insert a piece of code from Casee. Then advertisers can buy these advertising slots from Casee with cost per click model. Revenue splits between Casee and WAP sites in 4:6. Simply put, it’s like Google Adsense on WAP site. Average cost per click is about rmb 0.08 - 0.12.

Casee was founded in Dec. 2006 by former Linktone CTO Ye Xin. It’s rumored to be raising series A funding.

Ads network is hot in China and we can expect well connected, professional and branded player to enter this market in the next six to twelve months. Existing ads networks are providing platform to connect advertisers and websites. But advertisers need more professional service to help them planning campaign and establish long term engagement with communities. Traditional PR and Advertising companies, search engines and existing giant media publishers have strong competitive advantage in this field.

Speaking of mobile advertising in China, it is still at an early stage in comparison to Web advertising. China has a large mobile user base and the numbers of mobile internet users are growing rapidly. China mobile internet user base will surpass the regular PC internet user base by the end of 2008 according to MII and CNNIC.

However, with the constant threat of China Mobile clamping down on any aspect of China’s wireless industry, and with independent WAP sites already facing pressure from the dominant force that is China Mobile, it is still too early to tell how the mobile marketing industry will shake out in China.

Advertisers and investors should be paying close attention to what Casee and others in the mobile marketing space are doing over the next few years.

China Telecom Wired Business Slowing Down

China Telecom Corp, the country's biggest fixed-line telephone operator's profits for 2006 fell 2.7%.

The reason? Too many mobile phones....

Mobile phones are where the increases are happening although, in fairness, total revenue rose on strong demand for Internet connections and other services.
          China Telecom reported :
        • Net earning was RMB27.1 billion.
        • Revenue from Internet connections rose 32%.
        • Local phone revenue dropped 3.5%.
        • Total revenue jumped 3.4% to RMB175 billion.
        • 13 million new connections last year lifted its total fixed-line subscribers to 223 million.
        • Broadband customers (where the money is) increased by 7.3 million to 28.32 million.
        • Non-voice services increased to 29% of total revenue, up 5 percentage points from 2005.
        To make up for the slow growth, as mobile phones tend to be the preferred option, China Telecom is expanding broadband, Internet-based TV and other new services.

        Compare now China Mobile Corp, China's top mobile carrier. Last week it announced its 2006 profit rose 23% simply because of an increase in subscribers.

        China has the world's biggest telecom market, with 461 million mobile and 368 million fixed-line phones as of January. But the number of mobile phones is expected to grow by 60 million this year, while fixed-line phones will rise by 10 million. The place to be is in mobile phone services, not manufacturing mobile phones where the competition is ferocious, and certainly not in fixed line phones.

        Source : China Daily

        Concept Mobile Phones

        Concept Phones are great, as they give you an idea about what designers can do when they don’t have to be concerned about the mundane stuff.

        I have compiled a list of concept mobile phones that might or might not meet realism.
        1. Bracelet Phone with Built-in MP3 Player
        When this Bracelet phone receives any message, it starts vibrating and making or receiving a phone call is just too easy. To read the message, take the bracelet out of your wrist and press the diamond-like keystroke. The bracelet phone comes with a built-in MP3 player. With this phone on your wrist, you are definitely going to rock the party and make others green-eyed.
        2. BenQSiemens Snake phone

        The looks are cool and captivating but I doubt the ease with which we will be operating this crazy snaky concept phone.

        3. Dark Label Retroxis Phone

        The Black Label Retroxis phone by designer Lim Sze Tat reflects a retroapproach towards design with clean aesthetics, optimum controls and functions.

        4. Onyx Concept Phone

        First keyless touch-screen mobile phone utilizing Synaptics’ Clearpad transparent touch-sensitive capacitive sensor.
        5. Black Box Concept Phone

        The looks of this concept phone from BenQ-Seimens are alluring enough to turn your head. The Black Box changes the control layout according to the functions you use.

        6. NEC Tag concept phone

        The concept phone has been made up of flexible material and has been named “Tag”. The flexible material used will allow this phone to change its shape according to the mode.

        7. Nokia Aeon concept phone

        8. Sony Ericsson Concept Phone

        China the Biggest: Polluter

        There is an almost endless list of what China statistic China is biggest in, and what it consumes / producers most of. But not all of them are positive. The latest projection is that China will become the world’s biggest polluter this year – overtaking the US.

        The Independent reports that:

        China’s emissions rose by about 10 percent in 2005, a senior US scientist estimated, while Beijing data shows fuel consumption rose more than nine percent in 2006, suggesting China would easily outstrip the US this year, long before forecasts…Taking the top spot would focus pressure on China to do more to brake emissions as part of world talks on extending the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol on global warming beyond 2012.

        China will certainly be big in everything due to its size of its population and China will have to find its way to confront those problems as most of them had been brewing for a long time. While there are money making opportunities in positive areas, I m sure there are equally abundant of opportunities in those negative areas.

        New Ferrari Vertu

        Nokia luxury subsidiary Vertu is releasing a new Limited Edition phone, the Ascent Ferrari 1947, marking the sports car company's 60th birthday.

        "The bezel nose on the front of the phone features the famed Ferrari Prancing Horse, while on the rear back plate there is a scaled down iconic Ferrari brake pedal, crafted from high-graded aluminum, like that used in Ferrari cars. The case is made of from Ferrari red & black leather."

        What does your mobile phones say about you

        According to research by Nielsen Media Research, while all makes of mobiles have a wide spread of customer types with some groups more attracted to certain brands than others. It's clear that many will choose a phone that says something about them.

        See if you fit the stereotype:

        1. Nokia
        Middle aged managers
        Balance seekers
        Health conscious

        2. Motorola
        Fashion conscious
        Under 24
        Fun seekers

        3. Sony Ericsson
        Ambitious young men
        Success driven

        4. LG
        Favourite of mums
        Stay-at-home parents
        Success driven
        Harmony seekers

        5. Samsung
        Young women
        Career focused
        Success driven
        Fun seekers

        Yahoo! launches Mobile Publisher Services

        Good idea, will the execution match it?

        Yahoo! says the new services are designed to enable publishers in 19 countries to increase discovery, distribution and monetization of their content on mobile.

        New Services Designed to Enable Publishers Across 19 Countries to Increase Discovery, Distribution and Monetization of their Content on Mobile. The new services publishers will have access to are the Yahoo!Mobile Ad Network, Mobile Content Engine, Mobile Media Directory and Mobile Site Submit.The Yahoo! Mobile Publisher Services has gone live across 19 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, US and Vietnam.

        So far Yahoo! has put a lot of money and effort into its expansion into mobile with limited success (see pls put in link to your analysis of Yahoo! Go). The good news is that they have signed up some of the most innovative mobile players to their Publishing Services, including Go2, MobiTv and Opera.

        To learn more visit

        China to put $10bn into big airliners

        China will challenge Boeing and Airbus

        THE announcement by China's cabinet that it had made an "important strategic decision" to research and develop the manufacture of large passenger jets will have come as no surprise to foreign aviation groups.

        China has never hidden its desire to enter a market dominated by Boeing of the US and Europe's Airbus.

        Its ambition was publicly laid out as recently as last year in a government science and technology paper.

        China surely wants to build its own aircraft. It wants to be able to make money off itself. The attractiveness of the China market is in no doubt. Airbus's latest forecast puts China in second place behind only the US by both the number and value of jets needed between 2006 and 2025, with a market for 2929 large aircraft worth $US349 billion ($436 billion).

        Not a surprising move after all China has already had bigger initiative like putting the 1st man to the moon and going to Mars in the nearest future.

        China gets tough on mobile porn

        China is to introduce tough measures that include imprisonment and fines for people who send pornography over their mobiles.

        According to the official Xinhua News Agency, people caught sending pornographic video, photos or messages over their handsets could results in a two week term behind bars or a fine of 3,000 yuan.

        The move follows the arrest of 19 mobile phone dealers in China who were found distributing porn saved onto memory cards in handsets.

        China has strict laws on the dissemination of sexually explicit material with jail terms of up to 15 years for offenders. This is the first law of its type to be passed that specifically targets mobile phones.

        So watch out what you are sending and receiving. You dont want to be caught with your pants down.

        Tuesday, March 27, 2007

        Microsoft Spins Off ZenZui, Mobile Browsing Via Widgets

        Microsoft-backed ZenZui launched this morning. It’s a new mobile browser that aims to make surfing the web on your mobile device easier through widgets. The application that lets you surf over a 6×6 grid of website widgets by panning and zooming around the grid. Each of the widgets is a mobile optimized version of a website you interact with by zooming into it.

        Monday, March 26, 2007

        What Happens to Your body if you stop smoking Right now?

        I think one of the main reasons it’s so hard to quit smoking is because all the benefits of quitting and all the dangers of continuing seem very far away. Well, here’s a little timeline about some of the more immediate effects of quitting smoking and how that will affect your body RIGHT NOW.

        In 20 minutes your blood pressure will drop back down to normal.
        In 8 hours the carbon monoxide (a toxic gas) levels in your blood stream will drop by half, and oxygen levels will return to normal.
        In 48 hours your chance of having a heart attack will have decreased. All nicotine will have left your body. Your sense of taste and smell will return to a normal level.
        In 72 hours your bronchial tubes will relax, and your energy levels will increase.
        In 2 weeks your circulation will increase, and it will continue to improve for the next 10 weeks.
        In three to nine months coughs, wheezing and breathing problems will dissipate as your lung capacity improves by 10%.
        In 1 year your risk of having a heart attack will have dropped by half.
        In 5 years your risk of having a stroke returns to that of a non-smoker.
        In 10 years your risk of lung cancer will have returned to that of a non-smoker.
        In 15 years your risk of heart attack will have returned to that of a non-smoker.

        So, you have more immediate things to look forward to if you quit now besides just freaking out about not being able to smoke.

        Mobile Advertising Firm AdMob Gets $15 Million In Second Round Funding

        Mobile advertising company AdMob has secured $15 million in a big second round of funding led by Accel Partners, with previous investor Sequoia Capital participating as well. Sequoia had reportedly invested about $4 million previously. The announcement will be made at CTIA next week. The funds will be used to develop news solutions to simplify the companies mobile advertising offering.

        AdMob claims to have served over 1.6 billion ads with more than 1200 publishers across 160 countries. It has also released some statistics concerning how advertisers are targeting their ads: 95.2 percent of AdMob ads leveraged geographic targeting; 63.2 percent of AdMob ads leveraged behavioral or demographic targeting; 20.2 percent of AdMob ads leveraged handset targeting by manufacturer; 9.1 percent of AdMob ads leveraged targeting based on device capabilities; 3.7 percent of AdMob ads were run-of-network ads running viewed in over 150 countries worldwide.
        Other mobile ad start-ups include Ad Infuse, Enpocket, Millennial Media and Rhythm NewMedia. Google and Yahoo, the ad giants of Silicon Valley, serve ads alongside their mobile search ads, but have yet to roll out more general mobile ads.

        Mobile advertising is certainly the next frontier of online advertising and we will be seeing more and more funding going into various kinds of mobile advertising companies around the world. Expect to hear similar funding news coming from China soon.

        Alcohol is far more toxic than you know

        One way to measure the dangers of various drugs is to examine how toxic the drug is at various levels. Can too much kill you? And how much is too much? Here's an interesting article on what we know scientifically about the matter. Money quote:

        The most toxic recreational drugs, such as GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) and heroin, have a lethal dose less than 10 times their typical effective dose. The largest cluster of substances has a lethal dose that is 10 to 20 times the effective dose: These include cocaine, MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, often called "ecstasy") and alcohol. A less toxic group of substances, requiring 20 to 80 times the effective dose to cause death, include Rohypnol (flunitrazepam or "roofies") and mescaline (peyote cactus). The least physiologically toxic substances, those requiring 100 to 1,000 times the effective dose to cause death, include psilocybin mushrooms and marijuana, when ingested. I've found no published cases in the English language that document deaths from smoked marijuana, so the actual lethal dose is a mystery. My surmise is that smoking marijuana is more risky than eating it but still safer than getting drunk.

        Alcohol thus ranks at the dangerous end of the toxicity spectrum. So despite the fact that about 75 percent of all adults in the United States enjoy an occasional drink, it must be remembered that alcohol is quite toxic. Indeed, if alcohol were a newly formulated beverage, its high toxicity and addiction potential would surely prevent it from being marketed as a food or drug. This conclusion runs counter to the common view that one's own use of alcohol is harmless.

        The least toxic drug known to humans is now illegal. The most toxic is available at everywhere. None of this makes any sense at all. And yet we continue to imprison people for ingesting substances far less harmful than others freely available. One has to wonder what the prohibitionists are smoking. Maybe nutmeg.

        Beauty & Brains: Celebrity Babes with High IQs

        Now before I get started, a couple of caveats. First, this is not a list of geeks who happen to be beautiful. There are a lot of those, and they've been documented on other websites and publications. No, this is a list of gorgeous celebrities, models and actresses who have also got some educational pedigree behind them (because I've got no objective measure for a celeb's IQ, and their past scholarly accomplishments is all I've got to work with). Also, while there are plenty of actresses, for instance, who have studied performing arts at the undergraduate level, I've tended to give greater weight to celebrities who have excelled in a different field from their chosen profession.
        But enough with the formalities. Here is my ode to the Beautiful and the Brainy. Argue with me if you will, but these women are forever near and dear to my heart...
        1. Natalie Portman
        You may know her from: Star Wars, Garden State, The Professional and a host of other great films.
        Why she's beautiful: If she was hot enough for Darth Vader to go over to the darkside, she's hot enough for me (and don't get me started on her sexy voice!). And of course, when you're done go see Closer.
        Why she's brainy: Finished high school with a 4.0 GPA. Attended Harvard University where she completed a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. Also engaged in graduate studies at Hebrew University. Speaks Hebrew, French and Japanese fluently.
        Extra Credit: Did you know Natalie also raps?

        2. Cindy Crawford
        You may know her from: The grocery checkout stand - she was on the cover of just about every fashion magazine you can think of during the 1990s.
        Why she's beatiful: She made beauty marks cool (even supermodels can have a 'blemish'). And young 'uns take note, she's still gorgeous at 40.
        Why she's brainy: High school valedictorian (4.0 GPA), enrolled at Northwestern University to study chemical engineering on full academic scholarship. Dropped out to pursue modeling full-time after a semester (but she could finished!!!).
        Extra Credit: The classic Pepsi commercial. The girl is pretty nice too!

        3. Aishwarya Rai
        You may know her from: Any of the dozens of Bollywood films she's been in.
        Why she's beautiful: She won the 1994 Miss World pageant. Declared the most beautiful woman of all-time by numerous web polls, magazine articles and Julia Roberts.
        Why she's brainy: Was an A student at the prestigious Ruparel College in India (part of the University of Mumbai). Wanted to study medicine or zoology but ultimately ended up majoring in architecture. She is fluent in several languages including Hindi, Marathi, English and Tamil (her native tongue is Tulu).
        Extra Credit: 60 Minutes segment on Aishwarya Rai.

        4. Kate Beckinsale
        You may know her from: Movies like Click, Serendipity, Underworld, Van Helsing and Pearl Harbor.
        Why she's beautiful: Almost made me turn to vampirism with her Underworld films. Routinely places in FHM, Maxim and Stuff's annual lists of hot women.
        Why she's brainy: Attended Oxford University (New College) studying French and Russian literature for 3 years. As a teenager she was a two-time winner of the W.H. Smith Young Writers' competition for her short stories and poems. Is also fluent in French, German and Russian.
        Extra Credit: Kate Beckinsale's Diet Coke ad. She knows how to make guys, um, tingle.

        5. Elisabeth Shue
        You may know her from: The Karate Kid, Adventures in Babysitting, Cocktail, Leaving Las Vegas and Hollow Man.
        Why she's beautiful: Sure some girls are bad, but Elisabeth's always been the nice girl next door.
        Why she's brainy: Attended Wellesley College and Harvard University. She left Harvard to focus on acting in the mid 80s, but returned 15 years later to complete her degree in Government (that's some nice perseverance).
        Extra credit: Elisabeth doing her cute as a button dance from Babysitting...

        6. Jennifer Connelly
        You may know her from: Movies like Career Opportunities, The Rocketeer, Inventing the Abbotts, Requiem for a Dream, A Beautiful Mind, Blood Diamond.
        Why she's beautiful: It's all in her eyes (um...well and maybe a few other parts of her body)
        Why she's brainy: Attended Yale for 2 years (English) then transferred to Stanford to complete her Bachelor's degree. Is fluent in French and Italian.

        Friday, March 23, 2007

        Top 10 Mistakes of US Internet Giants in China

        Many textbooks in China are filled with case studies of Ebay, Yahoo, and Google. These translated internet books displayed in the bookstore are full of successful US internet companies about how user friendly their products are and how advanced their technologies are.

        However, in reality the story is completely different. US internet companies in china are usually quite inadequate in their development for the local market here. They are generally under performing. On the contrary, the US Internet Giants' local chinese counterparts have been performing well as they had never followed any of the US internet methodologies. As a matter of fact, they often do business in the complete opposite way.

        Many had questioned the reason for their failures but most of the analysis had been shallow and vague and unable to get to the root of the failures. Based on my personal opinion and observation, they fail mainly because of the wrong concept of doing things. They have good strategies, smartest human resources money can buy, adequate investments, best products and services, and best in world class technology. However, without changing their business concept, there is hardly any chance that the US Internet companies can succeed here in China.

        1. Targeting only the top white collars and not the whole of China

        It is a huge mistake that the US internet giants failed to realize. All their top executives are from Hong Kong or Taiwan or the US; all their employees are working in posh and lavish offices in Shanghai and Beijing. Their visions are limited.

        White-collars and top 500 corporations are primary target customers of their overall marketing promotions. They failed to consider general public and small businesses.Their education, aptitudes and vision lead to the exclusion of the majority population of china. They often ignore those kids in the internet cafes and those internet users from thousands of small towns (Note these two groups already account for more than half of China's internet population).

        They usually use the popular gmail and msn, but not 163 and QQ. They know too little of their targeted groups and unwilling to change to the requirements in China. In China, in order to become mainstream, you have to understand the demand and requirements of the internet users in China.

        2. The US Internet companies are afraid of negative press news
        The US Internet companies are afraid of bad press releases while the Chinese Internet companies are only worried about not having negative news. They believe that the best promotion is to let thousands of people "hate or despise" you.

        Getting 10 times higher salary working for the US Internet companies, most of their staff are fearful of losing their jobs. They'd rather have no performance instead of making more mistakes. They take no risk and keep low key. They are timid, polite, and well educated, but not ready to work their hearts out. At the end, they are often bloody beaten by their aggressive chinese counterparts.

        3. The US Internet companies spent too long planning
        US Internet companies alway have a long term plan. They spend a lot of money on all kinds of marketing research and planning. They also plan for the many years into the future. Once the plan is finalized, it’s not easy to change.

        Internet is an unique industry, it doesn't work in the same way in China. You have to be agile and flexible to move quickly as the market environment and dynamics change fast in China. Both ebay and yahoo have accepted their failures in China. The US Internet companies are better off to stand up and fight from the beginning instead of moving slowly.

        Many competitors in China only seek quick wins. Their philosophy is Quick-Straight-Win it. Mr. Ma, Yun (founder of, who took over yahoo China) used to setup gorilla-style team working in a closed camp, focusing on quick strategies, doing fast paced small cycles, and correcting mistakes while on the run. US Internet companies, on the other hand, usually build perfect plan and budget. If a trash can is not in the budget, it will take more than a month to be approved. It's generally doomed if everything has to be approved in the US.

        4. Chinese companies are Goal oriented
        I heard that Ma manages his team like gangs. First he sets a target eg, to achieve certain traffic number this year, or to register high numbers of users next year, etc. Next, the entire team works toward the goal by all means. If the target is met, everybody gets a good piece of the reward. His team will do whatever it takes to meet the objectives : spyware, bundling, soft porn, and other inappropriate promotion approaches. A typical Chinese-style website doesn’t care about how the results were achieved. So long as it doesn't break the law, they will do it.

        However, US Internet companies keep many metrics under lots of considerations. They have to maintain their brand image, keep their reputations as an international company, and be professional with all its undertakings.

        5. Understanding the Users' real needs
        The US Internet companies are good at building services with good user experience. But they usually over cooked it. If considering too much about users, user friendly design can limit the growth. Chinese Internet users are quite independent that they usually decide what they want to use and how they want to use it. You dont really care with what you want to offer them.
        Do you know the real reason why ICQ failed and left the China market? ICQ paid too much attention on user privacy issue. When they launched the service in China, user could only keep their information on the local computer. If you switch to a new computer, in order to best protect user's privacy, all your previous data are not available on the new computer. This is perfect for using ICQ on your home computer. However, it's completely senseless for Chinese user. ICQ has never recognized it even after leaving China. However, as the technical contact of ICQ's partner company in China, Mr. Ma, Huateng learned the technology of instant messaging and understood the Chinese users’ habit of getting online in Internet cafes (US employees would never understand what Internet cafes are). So, he made only some minor changes disregarding the so-called privacy protection, and then kicked ICQ out of the China.

        6. Wrong strategy in building user base
        Many US sites are praised in China for the marketing campaign but unable to make money. They all have the amazingly same marketing strategy: hire a 4A advertising company to design a set of elegant advertisement; put ads on subways and bus stations; make some web based ads for the niche market of white-collar; pay big bucks to top 3 portals to distribute the ads; spend a lot to buy google keywords (note they don't use Baidu, since they only see google and msn in their eyes). Everybody loves their ads, but no one visits their websites. Even if there are a few visitors, the cost is way too high. Sometime it costs more than 1000RMB (130$) per new user. .
        Chinese competitors alway pursuit traffic as the first priority. They think that big traffic is the best promotion for brand and all those falsifying brand establishments are useless. The only purpose of marketing is to bring in users, but not products. And they always want to pay less but accomplish more.

        US Internet companies normally have to pay 10,000RMB for 100 high-end targeted users. Chinese counterparts, on the other hand, spent 1,000RMB to recruit 10,000 random customers. So there is a huge difference on the efficiency. Common sense is so important, but its often forgotten by the smartest people.

        7. US internet companies are always focusing on the top end market
        American style marketing strategy concentrates heavily on establishing brands (such as using outdoor ad sign). It’s hard to pull the market forward that way. Chinese websites seldom do any advertisement solely for their brands. They like pull-style proactive promotions in order to create speculations, direct revenue, and popularity. And in many cases, users are forced to view ads.

        Chinese marketing specialist has studied the difference between and eBay China's advertisement. Both of them use similar banner ads to promote products from their inventory. With the same expense, Taobao is 10 times more productive than eBay China. Why?

        Because eBay lists out merchandises like iPod, Zippo, etc. But those are mainly for high end market. Most people don't read English and can't afford them.

        Taobao's ads include lots of eye-catching items like sexy underware, spanish fly, and etc.

        Those Chinese returnees working at American companies may not understand these: they would rather invest 100 mils on a clean and fashion advertisement to bring up 10 millions users, but not spend 10 mils on a low-taste advertisement which are visited by 100 millions users.
        If US sites can only get 1/10 advertising efficiency as their Chinese competitors, they are destined to fail.

        8. US Internet companies rely too much on emails and msn
        90% of the communication between US employees are done by emails. And they feel good about using English. Even a simple matter which can be done within 1 min on the phone will require 10 emails back and forth. In many cases, email and msn are not efficient at all. After Mr. Zhou, Hongyi took over the management of Yahoo China, there was a serious conflict between two cultures. Most of the original Yahoo employees use email to communicate with customers and partners, instead of meeting and having dinner with them. After getting rid of those people, Yahoo's business has improved tremendously.

        It's said that in a US based Chinese company, if there is one American in a meeting with 20 or 30 Chinese, everybody will communicate in English. It's completely not practical. They have to understand that they are doing business in China, and its more practical to speak chinese.

        9. US Internet companies fail to understand the basic local website design
        First glance at a website, you can guess the origin of the site even without knowing its background. US websites are clean, simple, but beautiful. They hide the good stuff inside, and believe the concept of "don't be afraid of letting your customer find your good stuff". It seems to be the taste of an international company. Although loved by 20% of the high-end users, 80% of average users will just exit after a quick view of its cold and clean design.

        Their Chinese competitors, on the other side, put vivid banners floating around, pile up all the good stuff into the front page, and disregard the importance of elegant design.

        Even today, the ex-Yahoo employees show no respect to simple to death page with a horrible design of putting tons of links all together. But only a few years ago, Yahoo tried to make a portal funded with 1 billion bucks and headed by dozens of MBA and returnee, elites from HK and TW. But they were pathetically defeated by a junior high school graduate in Guangdong. He single handed created and maintained with zero marketing expense, leading in all PVs, UVs, and advertising metrics way ahead of Yahoo.

        10. US Internet companies hiring the wrong candidates
        US Internet companies focus too much on communication and teamwork during recruiting. So they hire all those stereotypes persons: diligent, careful, cooperative, never messing up and making perfect power point presentation. They always prefer candidates from Hong Kong, Taiwan, or oversea returnees. They formed a closed circle not letting others in. Therefore, they naturally agree on website style, products and promotions.

        Chinese counterparts on the other hand hire any decisive, risk-taking, and hard working type of people. Although they have different skills and experiences, they are all full of entrepreneurial spirit. They build the winning website!

        It is true that many US Internet companies have huge reputation and fame in China. Their products are also great too. Even before they enter the Chinese market, they have alot of press coverage. Who doesn't know eBay or Google? A native Chinese website however has to spend 1 billion to get to the same level. But Chinese Internet market is not about branding yet. It's still in an early phase but pragmatic phase. It's useless to only talk about abstract concepts. Those who work for US Internet companies have to firmly rectify these 10 mistakes, and change their perception to fit into the Chinese market: first give what the Chinese customers want and build and develop guanxi with the government. Once they are able to do this, I m sure they are ready to see great growth.

        Mobile Marketing Concepts

        Mobile marketing is a new gold mine. Everybody is an expert on it and is giving advices on how to use it, but from what I am seeing not every advice is right and many are given from a partial experience. Let me try to add my brick to this wall as understanding the basic concepts is key in the development of a successful mobile strategy.

        Above all, mobile is a powerful tool for marketing but it needs to be integrated in the overall strategy, when so happens it boosts and enhances the performance of traditional media including Internet. Besides, mobile is also a new media by itself and in turn it can be divided in 4 subchannels which need to be taken into account when designing a mobile strategy.

        1st channel is INTERACTIVE COMMUNICATION

        This is today the most used and succesful one. It is about getting the permission to communicate with the handset of the users (normally by receiving a specific SMS to a short number Premium or not) and establishing a two-way interaction with them.This communication can be through SMS, MMS, voice, WAP Push, 2D codes,etc.. The revelance and personalization of the message is key as its frequence and ease of use (for responses), this is why a powerful continuous segmentation of the database is so important. It is normally used for information,promotions, launches, driving people to web/wap sites, points of sale and events, sweepstakes, alerts, contests and entertaining interaction. The MMA ( has defined a Code of conduct and best practices on how to use mobile marketing forInteractive Communication.

        2nd channel is CONTENT

        It is mainly mobile incentives like games, music, ringtones, video, TV and ad-hoc applications. Here, mobile advertising is gaining in importance with sponsored content and in-content ads like advertgaming or ads in video/mobile TV. Content can be downloaded via Wap push or even bluetooth or streamed. This is more used for brand awareness and associating brand with entertainment.

        3rd channel is COMMUNITY

        It's engaging user interaction among their social network and enabling user generated content. Although there are some mobile only communities, most of the current uses of this channel have to do with using mobile as a new, ubiquous, impulsive and easy way to existing digital communities. It enables the engagement of users with their peers through the brand.

        4th channel is MOBILE INTERNET

        It is about creating mobiles sites where users can access information about their interests, the brand and its products and their reward and loyalty schemes. Here users can also search and buy products and benefit from all kind of value added services provided by the brand. It goes without saying that mobile advertising has a fabulous potential in this channel in the same way it is on the Internet. Besides, there is another huge opportunity in bringing people to the brand mobile site using ad-servers in other sites (the reported CTR is from 3 to 7%).

        All these channels are normally not used alone but a combination of them is generally used in mobile marketing campaigns.

        Chinese Internet Companies at Turning Point

        137,000,000 Chinese on line. 1000's and 1000's of companies who try to earn money with Big Ideas. But "behind this rosy picture growth in the profitability of many Chinese Internet companies appears to be losing steam: they reported narrower profit margins last year"This article gives a good overview of the less rosy picture. Asia Times Online :: China Business News - Chinese Internet companies at turning point.

        Thursday, March 22, 2007

        Marketers Have Eyes on the ‘Mobile Screen’

        OLD media lagged behind in the race to go online, in part because the prospects for advertising — traditionally the major revenue source for newspapers, magazines and television — seemed unclear on the Internet. Then, online advertising took off, and the old media are still playing catch-up.

        Now, with the next iteration of the Internet, the mobile Web, spreading around the world, publishers and other content providers are trying to avoid coming in late on another advertising bonanza.

        Last week in London, the Online Publishers Association released a study showing that mobile Internet use was on the rise, as was acceptance of mobile advertising.

        The survey — conducted by TNS Media Intelligence in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain — found that 76 percent of cellphone owners in those countries had Web access from mobile devices. The researchers polled about 1,000 people in each country and found that more than a third of those who had mobile Web access used it. The population using the Web ranged from 34 percent in France to 54 percent in Britain.

        Studies commissioned by trade organizations are sometimes just disguised marketing exercises, and the publishing group’s numbers seem surprisingly high when compared with other recent surveys of Web access by mobile phone users. According to M:Metrics, a research firm based in Seattle, 14 percent of British cellphone users went to the Web for news and information in the fourth quarter. In Germany, the firm said, a mere 3.2 percent did so.

        Still, even if the lower estimates are closer to reality, mobile marketing could be a big thing simply because the potential audience size is enormous. About a billion mobile phones will be sold around the world this year, and globally, there are more cellphones than PCs.

        In advertising terms, however, the mobile phone remains very much the third screen, behind television and the computer. Mobile advertising has grown rapidly in markets like Japan, but outside Asia, activity is still dominated by “text and response” campaigns that for example, ask users to send text messages for more information on a product, or enter a contest.

        The personal nature of the link between cellphones and their users has made marketers tread carefully. Some mobile advertising — unsolicited text-message spam, for instance — is illegal or against advertising regulatory codes in many countries.

        The online publishers’ survey indicated that consumers remained wary. Only 18 percent of respondents in the United States said they were receptive to the idea of watching ads in exchange for free mobile content. The percentage was higher in Europe, where 37 percent said they would do so.

        But the study also showed how effective mobile advertising could be if the personal space could be entered deftly. Sizable percentages of respondents said they had visited a Web site or requested more information about a product after seeing a mobile ad.

        To get more marketers, Nokia announced last week two new services to increase mobile advertising. One program will help digital advertising specialists introduce campaigns for cellphone-based media applications like music players and navigation systems. The other will help agencies adapt digital campaigns for the mobile Web.

        With mobile media embracing various devices and formats, from video game players to portable newspaper readers, that may be no easy task. But if the marketing can be believed, the payoff could be sizable.

        TV is still King of information in China but not for long

        "Many surfers regard news on the internet as being more trustworthy. Six out of ten surfers in Shanghai consider the web to be the most helpful information source, while TV came first with only one out of ten people. Online media also achieves dominance in terms of being viewed as the most helpful source when making actual purchase decisions in Shanghai (30% for online versus 11% for TV).

        In Chengdu, meanwhile, TV remains king, but this is probably because the penetration of computer ownership there lags behind Shanghai. However, the dominance of TV in Chengdu, and other second-tier cities, will be short-lived.

        Already one-fifth of young adults in Chengdu rate the internet as their most preferred leisure activity, while TV captures the hearts of one-quarter. It is just a matter of time before the internet also dominates TV in most of China's second-tier cities.

        And once it does, you will see change occurring like a revolution--in media, commerce and culture."

        China Mobile Grows Revenue and Subscribers

        China Mobile, the largest mobile operator in the world today posted its 2006 annual results and said net profit for 2006 rose 23.3% to RMB66 billion from RMB53.55 billion in 2005.

        China Mobile's subscribers exceeded 300 million in 2006, a 22% increase from 2005. The company used those new users to balloon its revenue to RMB295.4 billion, up 21.5% from 2005.

        Revenue attributable to its mobile value-added businesses grew 38.1% year-on-year to RMB69.3 billion and accounted for 23.5% of the group's total operating revenue in the year.

        Wednesday, March 21, 2007

        Chinese cell phone holds your cigarettes too

        This is probably the most ridiculous product to come out of China in some time. The Smokers Phone looks like a cigarette packet but is in fact a real working mobile phone complete with a handy compartment inside to keep your cigarettes safe.

        With the official government warning stickers this handset looks exactly the same as a real cigarette packet and includes a microSD card slot, MP3 player, colour screen and VGA camera. How ridiculous can things get in China....Ha Ha...