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hijacked brands

Yahoo's Chinese Partner Lands It On Official "Vulgar Content" List

Posted by Laura Fitch on November 11, 2009 11:39 AM

yahoo chinaYahoo is learning, the hard way, that marriages of convenience are often more difficult than they first appear. Earlier this month the company made a telling announcement: its global “It’s You” campaign would skip China completely.

Why? Because Yahoo China isn’t run by Yahoo. It’s run by the Chinese Alibaba Group (AG), a deal Yahoo struck to get into the Chinese market by giving Alibaba full control over Yahoo China, in exchange for a $1 billion, 39% investment in AG.

So Yahoo has no real control over its brand in China, and this is proving dangerous. The China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center put Yahoo on its list of sites featuring “vulgar content,” blaming a user-generated section of the site.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Baidu Ad Shows Chinese Brands Shifting Ad Strategy From Product To Image

Posted by Laura Fitch on November 6, 2009 05:12 PM

Chinese Internet search engine giant Baidu is updating its image with a slick new TV and online ad that portrays the company as the key for users to unlock their future potential. The first corporate ad for Baidu since 2005, the 48-second spot follows the launch last August of the company’s Kuangjisuan, or box computing search platform.

What’s most notable is not that Baidu wants to update its corporate image -- or that it waited five years to do so -- it’s how it’s doing it. The ad depicts users finding a bright future with the click of a button on its search engine, using images that have a dreamy, artistic quality.

Selling images of personal aspirations rather than the product itself is a marketing tactic so well-established overseas that it’s seen as strange when it isn’t employed. But for China’s nascent advertising industry, rushing to catch up to international standards, this type of corporate branding is still a new and underused tool.Continue reading...

tech fail

China Takes A Bite Out Of Apple

Posted by Laura Fitch on November 2, 2009 03:07 PM

The iPhone has come to China. As was widely predicted, sales nosedived as soon as the sleek new model hit the stands.

In the iPhone’s first foray into the land of one billion potential customers, Apple is making a rookie's mistake, taking a marketing strategy that has worked well internationally and forcibly applying it to the unique Chinese market.

The problems are multiple: ridiculously high prices for the targeted market, unlocked iPhone models imported from Hong Kong, China Mobile’s “OPhone” rip-off. It makes one wonder just what rock Apple had its head under while building a China strategy.Continue reading...

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start your engines

ESPN Gives Motocross A Green Light In Asia

Posted by Laura Fitch on October 26, 2009 04:44 PM

ESPN Star Sports is revving up to bring motocross to Asia after inking a three-year multiplatform partnership with FIM’s Motocross World Championship commercial rights-holder and promoter, Youthstream. The sports channel will broadcast motocross events throughout the region over its extensive broadcast platform.

FIM/CMS president Dr. Wolfgang Srb says in Media:

This is possibly the most important TV deal in the history of Motocross and SuperMoto. With ESPN Star Sports, we will reach new horizons and cover one of the most important and fastest-growing regions in the world.

Asia is indeed hungry for motor sports. If the current success of F1 racing, which ESPN also broadcasts, is any indication, motocross has a green light for growth throughout the region.Continue reading...

traveling brands

Minute Maid's "Super Milky" Mangles English For Profit In China

Posted by Laura Fitch on October 16, 2009 02:56 PM

Preparing for the 2010 World Expo, Shanghai city has declared war on Chinglish, much as Beijing did before the Olympics.

The campaign to wipe out strange and often hilarious English translations on menus, signs and advertisements was announced just before Coca-Cola launched its new ad campaign, and first plunge into the dairy sector in Shanghai with a new product.

The name of the drink? Minute Maid Pulpy Super Milky. Seriously.Continue reading...


Luxury Brands Ride Out Recession By Soaking China's Wealthy

Posted by Laura Fitch on October 15, 2009 05:37 PM

Sotheby’s and Christie’s Hong Kong auction houses are enjoying roaring sales in art, expensive jewelry and fine wines. Luxury companies that pander to the super-wealthy, such as yacht and custom-made luxury car makers, are also experiencing increases in sales in China.

The New York Times notes that China's rich are splashing the cash despite the recession:

In December 2008, when the credit squeeze set off by the collapse of Lehman Brothers was at its most severe, Christie’s raised $33.5 million at its jewelry sale in Hong Kong, more than at any of the other jewelry auctions it held elsewhere that season.

China’s wealthy have cash to burn, and want others to know it. For a wealthy Chinese buyer, a product's quality matters less than how much it cost.Continue reading...

stuck in neutral

Toyota, Japanese Carmakers Downshift

Posted by Laura Fitch on October 15, 2009 02:11 PM

The poorly-attended Tokyo Motor Show provides a sneak peek into just how little gas is left to fuel that country’s once dominant auto industry. According to Reuters, this year carmakers will showcase just 19 cars, down from 37 last year, taking up less than half the floor space of last year’s show. Toyota’s sales are so low that it has prompted Toyota president Akio Toyoda to publicly apologize for the company’s poor performance.

As Japanese auto makers struggle to make their cars relevant and appealing to Japanese consumers, with ever-more environmentally friendly and experimental, futuristic models, for now it’s clear they've got a tough battle on their hands to win back the public. Like their American counterparts, today’s Japanese youth just aren’t interested in cars – in fact, many find them vaguely distasteful.Continue reading...

fashion therapy

Japan's Cooling Love For Luxury Opens Doors For Mid-Range Brands

Posted by Laura Fitch on September 24, 2009 11:37 AM

Japan, once a haven for luxury brands where nearly every consumer had a designer purse, coat, or cell phone strap, is feeling the strain of the recession. The latest economic squeeze has Japanese people counting their yen and looking for cheap deals. According to the New York Times:

Retail analysts, economists and consumers all say that the change could be a permanent one. A new generation of Japanese fashionistas does not even aspire to luxury brands; they are happy to mix and match treasures found in a flurry of secondhand clothing stores that have sprung up across Japan.

Wal-Mart, under the Seiyu brand, is now posting profits after years of just barely breaking even in Japan. The Japanese are downscaling everything from food choices to clothing to beer, looking for the cheapest option. This marks a significant shift not just in the Japanese consumer, but for Japanese culture. Continue reading...

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