ShanghaiZhan: All Things China Marketing, Advertising, Tech & Platforms
ShanghaiZhan is a raw, lively, and regular debate about China tech, advertising, creativity & the intersection of it all. Join hosts Ali Kazmi and Bryce Whitwam, for timely discussions on all things China marketing, coming to you directly from Shanghai!
After 20 Years of China Advertising: Is There a Bright Future?
November 5, 2021 • 30 MIN
Welcome to Shanghai Zhan, aka. Shanghai Station. The only station in Shanghai’s world-famous metro that exists as a podcast. Listen to Bryce Whitwam and Ali Zein Kazmi debate with guests on their experiences and aspirations for China. Bryce and Ali are connected to China for over 20 years and are still in Shanghai working in the industry. Both fluent Mandarin speakers, Bryce writes the language while and Ali gets away with using his thick Beijing accent. In their inaugural episode, “After 20 Years of China Advertising: Is There A Bright Future?” Bryce and Ali discuss: 1) Being in China for over 20 years in China 2) Bryce visits a slimming center and is wrapped in plastic. 3) Losing relevance even if you are out of China, even if for a few weeks?! 4) Use and application of data in a PIPL led-world, operating in platforms, is super important, and trusting platforms in exchange for better service & utility. 5) Bryce likes looking at pictures of guns on Instagram 6) Clients pulling advertising in-house, at speed, more strategic, more quantified. 7) Alibaba is still a buy! 8) Consolidation versus creativity. 9) Preconditioned for careers that are “measured”. 10) Too hard to let go. Oh! the energy and the addiction of China! Next up, an analysis of Double 11 featuring one of China’s most prolific alcohol salesman. Stay tuned.
Pernod Ricard's Pierre Delfosse on 11/11: the Day After the Dust Settled
November 17, 2021 • 31 MIN
In this episode, we talk with Pierre Delfosse, E-commerce Director at Pernod Ricard China, on the world's largest shopping festival, Double 11, which climaxes on the 11th of November of every year. We are still big in Japan. We are a lot bigger in Hong Kong (S.A.R.) and even bigger in the USA. In this episode we discuss: 1. What we shopped for Double 11 
 2. How has the spirits business evolved over the past 7years 
 3. What Chinese consumers drink, white, yellow, and brown. 
 4. Jiu Jiu or September 9 is Spirits Day in China 
 5. Imported spirits hold 1.5% of share of spirits (minuscule when you put into consideration how much Baijiu is drunk in China). 
 6. Success offline leads to greater success online, especially on that day – building brand is massively important 
 7. Double 11 is not an Alibaba thing alone, all platforms are Double 11 crazy 
 8. Building owned traffic and reducing dependency on the platforms. 
 9. Pierre enjoys Glenlivet and Cognac but sometimes cheats with a Blue Label. 
 10. Don’t drink and drive. 
 Join us next week for another exciting show as we are investigating the evolution of sport. Music: "Bad Cough Syrup" by Bryce Whitwam: Welcome to Shanghai Zhan, aka. Shanghai Station. The only station in Shanghai’s world-famous metro that only exists as a podcast. Listen to Bryce Whitwam and Ali Zein Kazmi debate with guests on their experiences and aspirations for China. Bryce and Ali are connected to China for over 20 years and are still in Shanghai working in the industry. They are both fluent Mandarin speakers, with Bryce reading and writing, while Ali gets away with using his thick Beijing accent.
China: Luxury's 2021 Comeback Story feat. Artefact's Mike Zhu & Serena Shen
December 2, 2021 • 29 MIN
When the pandemic hit, the luxury business was doomed, or was it? China was not only Luxury's comeback kid, but it also helped redefine the category for the post-pandemic world. How can you define luxury through a complete mobile experience? In this episode, we have modern luxury experts Artefact's Mike Zhu & Serena Shen talk about how China made it happen, and what are the lessons for the world. In this episode we cover: 1. What makes luxury tick? 2. Controlling supply & creating desire 3. Empty malls and the metaverse 4. Day day up up luxury 5. Personal service on live broadcast 6. Luxury, made in China 7. Late to the party, but running fast 8. Shopping at the Prada wet market Music: "Bad Cough Syrup" by Bryce Whitwam: Welcome to Shanghai Zhan, aka. Shanghai Station. The only station in Shanghai’s world-famous metro that only exists as a podcast. Listen to Bryce Whitwam and Ali Zein Kazmi debate with guests on their experiences and aspirations for China. Bryce and Ali are connected to China for over 20 years and are still in Shanghai working in the industry. They are both fluent Mandarin speakers, with Bryce reading and writing, while Ali gets away with using his thick Beijing accent.
Talking Trash on China: The Sustainability Race With Richard Brubaker
December 16, 2021 • 45 MIN
China is one of the fastest-growing economies and faces serious sustainability challenges. Like the hosts, today’s guest completes 20 years in China, all of it helping China and the rest of Asia with real issues on waste, waste management, and social responsibility. Richard Brubaker is Founder & Managing Director at Collective Responsibility and Executive Volunteer at HandsOn China. He draws comparison to the US and has lessons to offer on what they can do better. 1. Picking sustainability because of a mega Sichuan earthquake. 2. Exporting sustainability to the rest of the world. 3. Look out the window, you don’t need to look too far. 4. Takes time for companies to get out to do stuff. 5. Serving the community with HandsOn, the easy one to talk to. 6. ESG, EHS, sustainability is a lot more than trash talk. 7. Marketing & brand management blamed getting a bad rep. 8. Do good, get good talk, be like Starbucks, do little things well, every day. 9. “Efficient sustainability” ready for export from China 10. No one consumer in China map them against a problem to help solve Welcome to Shanghai Zhan, aka. Shanghai Station. The only station in Shanghai’s world-famous metro that only exists as a podcast. Listen to Bryce Whitwam and Ali Zein Kazmi debate with guests on their experiences and aspirations for China. Bryce and Ali are connected to China for over 20 years and are still in Shanghai working in the industry. They are both fluent Mandarin speakers, with Bryce reading and writing, while Ali gets away with using his thick Beijing accent. More about Richard Brubaker: Website: Facebook: LinkedIn Page: Instagram: Twitter: Music: "Bad Cough Syrup" by Bryce Whitwam:
Shiseido’s Carol Zhou on C-Beauty & Big China Beauty Trends for 2022
December 28, 2021 • 37 MIN
China’s Beauty market is #2 behind the US at US$71 billion (Euromonitor 2020), and it’s expected to be the world’s biggest in 3 years. Chinese women today are notably confident and embrace their own identity and style. Popularly, we call this "C-Beauty" as it competes with the more identifiable ‘J’ & ‘K-Beauty’. ShanghaiZhan welcomes Carol Zhou, Sr. Vice President for Innovation & Investments at Shiseido China to talk to us more about defining Chinese beauty and the big trends for the upcoming year. In this episode we talk about: 1. Our newfound stardom as KOLs by hitting over 8000 downloads 2. Carol’s 2022 beauty resolutions 3. Carol’s journey to becoming a beauty expert and having the best job in the business 4. The rise of C-Beauty, beauty diversity & what Chinese women want? 6. Global brands balancing act in China: the girl with freckles are to be celebrated 7. The “clean beauty” trend in China: What it is and what it is not 8. “Adjacent spaces”: Shiseido’s innovation growth plans 9. “Medical beauty” & why is it growing so quickly? 10. Global vs. local beauty brands: who is leading where and why? 11. Offline or online? What’s the future of beauty offline as online continues to grow? 12. Are brand stories still important for C-Beauty or is the market still highly imitative? 13. How has Covid affected the China beauty industry? 14. Beautiful men 15. C-beauty in the metaverse. Believe it or not, there’s an App for that! (and yes, metaverse made it into the conversation) Welcome to Shanghai Zhan, aka. Shanghai Station. The only station in Shanghai’s world-famous metro that only exists as a podcast. Listen to Bryce Whitwam and Ali Zein Kazmi debate with guests on their experiences and aspirations for marketing in China. Bryce & Ali are well connected to China for over 20 years and still work in the industry in Shanghai. They are both fluent Mandarin speakers, with Bryce reading and writing, while Ali gets away with using his thick Beijing accent.
BONUS EPISODE: Bryce Whitwam: Why China Has Leapfrogged the World in Digital Marketing
January 2, 2022 • 65 MIN
ShanghaiZhan podcast host, Bryce Whitwam, expounds on the sophisticated Chinese consumer and innovations in the Chinese marketplace on "The Reorient! Podcast", interviewed by Jesse Freidlander on September 1, 2021. "The Reorient! Podcast" is available on Apple Podcasts. 1. Bryce's life story: from South Dakota to Shanghai 2. China's marketing evolution, starting 2010 3. The early days of China advertising: expanded distribution makes any ad campaign look successful 4. 2015: The marketing transformation of China begins with the growth of social media & e-commerce 5. Global vs. China market: what are the key differences? - Think 14 different engagement channels to buy a printer! 6 . The world of China's influencers: 5 different layers serving different purposes 7. Building brand equity in China is all about enhancing customer experience 8. Global vs. local brands: what local brands can do better 9. The pet food category in China takes a lot from female beauty trends 10. Why the Chinese consumer is so sophisticated & demanding for choice, and they've become addicted to the whole experience 11. Chinese psychographics: why China isn't as homogenous as you think 12. China GenZ: still rebellious and individualistic, but within a framework 13. China shares American archetypes: work hard & you can be successful, too! 14. Lower tier & upper tier differences are becoming less obvious, thanks to e-commerce 15. GenZ: Western vs. China: what are the similarities and differences? 16. Do Japan and Korea still have an influence on China's GenZ? 17. How will the China market evolve in the world of Covid? Some China brands get it.
Wavemaker APAC CEO’s Gordon Domlija: Bold Predictions for 2022: PART 1
January 13, 2022 • 36 MIN
What’s in store for the industry in 2022? During the first half of our two-part series, we speak to Gordon Domlija from WPP media agency, Wavemaker, about what brands in China need to do to stay relevant, and why client in-housing agency work isn’t necessarily that easy of a task. Gordon also reflects on his career, why he came to China and the first place, and, despite being the Asia-Pacific leader, chooses to remain in China, despite Covid restrictions. This episode is co-sponsored by our good friends at Campaign-Asia. 1. Gordon’s path to the ad business: it started in a nightclub and ended up at the Howard Johnson’s 2. Why Gordon Stays in China as regional CEO 3. China + Asia: There’s still a gap (and China is ahead) 4. How Gordon does his job without being a regional seagull 5. Working with platforms in the region is about collaboration because you can’t do everything well 6. What are clients’ expectations for 2022? 7. Is China too performance-driven? 8. Marketing predictions: Are brands now asking brands to drive private audiences or 1P? 9. What’s the advantage of agencies in the world of corporate in-housing? Welcome to Shanghai Zhan, aka. Shanghai Station. The only station in Shanghai’s world-famous metro that only exists as a podcast. Listen to Bryce Whitwam and Ali Zein Kazmi debate with guests on their experiences and aspirations for marketing in China. Bryce & Ali are well connected to China for over 20 years and still work in the industry in Shanghai. They are both fluent Mandarin speakers, with Bryce reading and writing, while Ali gets away with using his thick Beijing accent. For everything ShanghaiZhan:
Wavemaker APAC CEO’s Gordon Domlija: Bold Predictions for 2022: PART 2
January 19, 2022 • 29 MIN
Here's part 2 of our fantastic interview with Wavemaker's APAC CEO, Gordon Domlija. In this episode, Gordon discusses the challenges of managing a regional agency during Covid, and how his focus has been on creating a corporate culture in some markets that may have not seen each other for the past 2 years. Gordon also discusses the need for structural organization in his agency to meet the changing needs of his customers. You can also get Gordon's take on the Prada Wet Market - his agency did the work! 1. Hiring & retaining people & how Covid-19 has affected agencies in Asia 2. How does the industry keep the best people (it has lost the plot)? 3. Build your agency culture around fun 4. Structural re-organization is the big theme for 2022. 5. With massive discounts in China e-commerce, aren't we all racing to the bottom? 6. Gordon's take on the Prada Wet Market installation - brands just wanna have fun 7. Is China still a good market for foreign brands? Welcome to Shanghai Zhan, aka. Shanghai Station. The only station in Shanghai’s world-famous metro that only exists as a podcast. Listen to Bryce Whitwam and Ali Zein Kazmi debate with guests on their experiences and aspirations for marketing in China. Bryce & Ali are well connected to China for over 20 years and still work in the industry in Shanghai. They are both fluent Mandarin speakers, with Bryce reading and writing, while Ali gets away with using his thick Beijing accent.
The Beijing Winter Olympics Preview: Covid, Sponsorships & Eileen Gu
January 26, 2022 • 50 MIN
Meet China's most famous and insightful sports insider, Mark Dreyer, who's a regular commentator on the Chinese sports industry. Now that the Winter Olympics is just around the corner, we felt it was time to get Mark's opinion on sponsorships, the events, and what it's like in Beijing these days. Mark writes weekly columns for SupChina & SportsBusiness & is co-host of his own show, the China Sports Insider Podcast. Mark has also released his first book "Sporting Superpower: An Insider's View on China's Quest to Be the Best". 1. Mark's experience in Beijing 2008 2. I would love to see China win the World Cup 3. Can China win at team sports? 4. Winter Olympics: A covid games like no other 5. Will the Winter Olympics Encourage more winter sports? 6. Mark's bold predictions for the Winter Olympics: expect a breakthrough in sliding sports 7. Sport sponsorships are bleak (unless you're a local Chinese brand) 8. Eileen Gu will potentially be the face of the Winter Olympics 9. Impact of social media and sports players: CCTV has become a dinosaur 10. Will we be seeing NFT tokenized moments at the Olympics? 11. What will be the next big thing for sports sponsorships in China (It's not good news) 12. What about watching sports abroad? One bad tweet and you might be blacklisted 13. Sports amongst the middle class has grown significantly, but it can't get in the way of school 14. Yao Ming or Li Na? It's Li Na!
Evolving From KOLs to Chinese Influencer Groups: Insights Guru, Julien Lapka
February 8, 2022 • 47 MIN
What's the future of influencer marketing in China? To insights expert, Julien Lapka, successful brands focus on influencer groups rather than KOL powerhouses such as Austin Li. It comes down to uncovering unique insights, not often found in databases. Julien is the founder of Inner Chapter, an agency that turns insights into commercial IP. Julien is also co-owner of Revolving Door, a speakeasy behind a small coffee shop, located near XinTianDi in Shanghai. Today's episode is sponsored by our friends of Campaign Asia. 1. Why open a speakeasy and what's behind the name, Revolving Door? 2. How did you get into the insights business and why set up your own shop? 3. How e-commerce has dramatically how you uncover insights 4. Trends in Shanghai should not represent China trends. 5. The 2 Chinas: Those who work hard to survive & the others who can afford to "lie flat" 6. The rise and popularity of Dystopia 7. Insights Mining in 2022: Home Visits Still Work the Best 8. Home Visit Insight War Stories: Turning Tea Leaves into Skin Rejuvenation Post-Surgery Product 9. Data Looks at Past-Behavior - It doesn't predict the future 10. First Installment of Taobao Silk Market: The Squid Wins! 11. Do Chinese brands have the upper hand? In which categories? 12. Julien's favorite innovative Chinese brand: HeyTea 13. Building brands that will last needs more than KOLs but influencer groups 14. Connecting "spicyness" to behavioral psychographics - spicy as a stress reliever 15. A/B Test: Knedlíky or Jiaozi: the answer will surprise you!
Genesis Motor China CEO Markus Henne: Building a Luxury Auto Brand in China
February 28, 2022 • 44 MIN
Meet Genesis Motor China's CEO Markus Henne as he describes his experience of building a luxury auto brand in China from the ground up. Markus joined Genesis Motor in 2019 from a distinguished career at Mercedes-Benz, and it has only been since October of 2021 that they have begun to distribute cars. How to build a luxury brand amongst all the competition? How to keep customers interested for 6 months after they have put down their deposits? Today's episode is sponsored by our friends of Campaign Asia. 1. How did you end up in China and what are you driving these days? 2. What's different about a Genesis, and what's it like working in the car industry these days? The advantage of a blank canvas 3. Hiring people outside of the industry is key to the Genesis Experience. 4. Advantage Direct-To Consumer model, especially in China 5. What aspects of the Genesis Experience can be exported from China? 6. Big brands want to go to Direct-To-Consumer but they are bound by tradition 7. How do you keep Chinese customers active before they can get their car? 8. NEV/EV - is there a difference in customer experience from regular petrol cars? 9. EV & Petrol: appeal to different consumer groups 10. Expect the big auto players to come back against the new NEV players, but it will take time 11. How do you define Genesis luxury? What is "Athletic Elegance"? 12. How do you define luxury in the after-sales world? 13. Any big differences working for a Korean company vs. a German? 14. Hong Xiao Rou or Schnitzel: It's Schnitzel!
Annie Su & the Unique Intersection of Food and Advertising
March 10, 2022 • 32 MIN
Meet Annie Su, she's a full-time marketing executive and part-time foodie. Originally from Taiwan, most of her career has been in advertising agencies before recently joining the client side. She spent the prime of her career with Ogilvy, first in Taipei, then Beijing, and finally, Shanghai. Annie is also the author of 2 books, 1. 日尝时光:下班陪你进厨房 2. 当冰箱:只剩下乌鱼子, books about food, stories, culture, and the human experience. Annie has had a successful career in the fine art of listening to others. 1. Meet Annie: Taipei to Beijing to Shanghai 2. How has the advertising business transformed since 2007? 3. Annie's 3 big ad agency accomplishments: A Taiwanese female introvert in a man's world 4. Food & advertising: how are they connected 5. Cooking food & telling stories: about Annie's first book 6. Traveling, Conversations & Stories: about Annies 2nd book 7. A future in advertising? Annie's advice for her younger self: Forever Young 8. Join the client or agency after university?: Annie's answer will surprise you 9. The A/B Test: Always the best part of the show
Shanghai Under Covid Lockdown: Praises, Frustrations & Predictions
March 29, 2022 • 41 MIN
Ali and I decided we needed to have a "Covid lockdown in Shanghai" episode since we are all stuck at home, dividing our time between work, food hunting, and waiting in line for PCR tests. Where are we headed? We're joined by Professor Andrew Field, a Professor of History at Duke Kunshan University and our returning champion, a friend of the podcast, Richard Brubaker, Founder of sustainability consultancy, Collective Responsibility. 1. Shanghai under lockdown overview: From "Zero Covid" to "Dynamic Zero" 2. Living Under Covid: Shanghai vs. the Suburbs 3. Shanghai's Older Population Under Threat 4. Switching Gears Given the Logistical Nightmare 5. From High Tech Health Apps to Decorative Phone Stickers 6. Hard Tactics vs. Self-Management: Which works better? 7. Shanghai's Emotional Weather Report: Locals & Foreigners 8. Painting into a corner with never dry paint: keeping the economy going 9. What's next? Can we hold out for another lockdown level? 10. Communication under Covid: by neighborhood via WeChat 11. China's lack of healthcare infrastructure for a pandemic 12. A/B Test With Andrew: It's Lu Xun and Coach K
Shanghai Under Lockdown: the Global Supply Chain & Future of Business
April 9, 2022 • 35 MIN
We are now in the 4th week of the great Shanghai lockdown. How will the lockdown impact business and the supply chain? To answer this question, we have invited supply chain expert, Cameron Johnson, Head of APAC Strategy for FAO Global. Mr. Johnson is also an Adjunct Professor at NYU Shanghai as well as a Board of Governors for the American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai. 1. Business impact: how will the lockdown affect business and how does it compare to 2020? 2. Impact of the Supply Chain: it's about the trucks, not the ships 3. Covid and China Decoupling: Will companies now leave China? 4. Covid & Human Capital: Will this be the line in the sand for China's foreign business community? 5. When will the lockdown end? What has to happen? 6. Food logistics: how are people getting fed? Any strange vegetables? 7. A/B Test: Bezos & the Seattle Space Needle Cameron Johnson On Linkedin: For everything ShanghaiZhan: Donate & become a ShanghaiZhan Patron: ShanghaiZhan Theme Music: by Bryce Whitwam Bryce on Linkedin: Ali on Linkedin:
The Great Shanghai Lockdown's Impact on Marketing
April 17, 2022 • 41 MIN
Shanghai's Lockdown will enter its 5th week starting next week. How are brands in China reacting now or should they react at all? And more importantly, how will the lockdown impact the market in the long term and how should brands prepare for the future? Is this a great moment in advertising to connect with the masses? Please welcome McCann Health China's Chief Strategy Officer, Henry Shen, and Ogilvy Shanghai's Strategy Director, Arjun Paul Vendanayagam, to discuss this with Ali and Bryce. 1. Living the life of a strategic planner under Shanghai lockdown 2. Two sides of the coin: The Lockdown has actually brought neighbors closer together. People are starting to lose it 3. Short Term: Brands are being more cautious because they don't want to over-promise. 4. steps up and tries to deliver truckloads by the day 5. Long Term: Expect 2 Extremes: Carp Diem v. Stock For a Rainy Day: How to achieve the balance 6. Potential territories: Mental Wellness, Real-World Experiences, Comradeship, Live With What You Have 7. Can mental health be a potential brand territory? 8. Don't Waste This Crisis! Yes, it's possible here. 9. Anything you wish you knew as an advertiser? 10. Our 3 Key Lockdown Survival Tips: Yes, one is don't look at your phone so much! 11. A/B Test: Coke, Prison Break, Playstation, and lots of cabbages!
Can Chinese Beauty Brands Go Global? - Lisa Shiqi Yu + Elijah Whaley
May 2, 2022 • 44 MIN
We're taking a much-needed break from Shanghai's recent Covid lockdown to talk about the globalization of C-Beauty. What will it take for Chinese beauty brands to go global? How important are influencer networks and what is the role of technology? Will fast-fashion platform,'s use of AI predictive analytics be a beauty industry game-changer? We're joined by Lisa Shiqi Yu, Founder, and CEO of GENLAB Group, based in Shanghai. GENLAB is a selective incubator supporting purpose-led entrepreneurs to complete their global vision. We are also joined by Elijah Whaley, who is VP of Marketing for Gainfluence, a company specializing in influencers for NFT & crypto projects. 1. Lisa and GENLAB's mission: finding Chinese brands with purpose, sustainable platforms, willingness to go global, and a bit of fun in their DNA. 2. Introducing Zeya - Hard Soda with No Pressure 3. Beauty & Influencers: Is the China KOL model exportable? 4. Moving beyond the First Year Momentum That Most Chinese Brands Face 5. China's Supply Chain Product Mindset to Meaningful Brands: What's Learned From Western Brands 6. Convincing a Chinese Brand Owner Wanting To Go Abroad to have a World View: It's Tough 7. Brand Building Outside of China for Non-Beauty: Leaning on Product 8. The Story - From Fashion to Beauty? 9. Data Hub vs. Philosophical Brand Hub: who will win? 10. Perfect Diary: Will They Be China's L'Oreal? 11. Should a Brand Embrace Private Traffic? 12. A/B Test: Baijiu, Rocky Mountain Oysters, Cucumber Soda & Kool-Aid
Is There a Future for SaaS Marketing Platforms in China?
May 15, 2022 • 39 MIN
Do SaaS Marketing platforms have a future in China? Yes, the platforms here are different, but there are also a lot of cultural reasons why SaaS hasn't taken off here. According to McKinsey, China is still 10 years behind other markets in SaaS platform development. Why? What needs to change? We spoke to our good friend, Alex Duncan, Co-Founder of social media SaaS platform, KAWO, who has lived in China for 15 years, where his passion for adventure, user experience, and technology has flourished. 1. What on Earth is Saas? Why do marketers need it? 2. Why did Alex come to China? For the adventure, of course! 3. What is KAWO? Why do China brands need it? 4. Is There a Connection Between Social Media Execution & Brand Planning? It Depends on the Outcome You’re Looking For. 5. WeChat is Still a Great Place To Build Brands, But It’s Not Easy 6. Is Private Domain Traffic or Is It Just a FOMO Gimmick? 7. Media Efficiency or Media Planning Intelligence? Sorry to say, it’s the definition of insanity 8. Why has not SaaS not been popular in China? 9. The Huge SaaS Potential in China and China Needs it. 10. Why Isn’t Adobe or Salesforce Big In China? Is it a Cultural or a Unique Ecosystem? 11. What Do SaaS Platforms Need in China to Grow? 11. What Gets You Inspired and Why Did you Get Inspired to Run a SaaS company? 12. A/B Test: Mathematics, Specialized and Bearded (of course!)
The Future Of The China Media Agency Business
May 27, 2022 • 38 MIN
We've seen a lot of change in the Chinese media landscape over the past 20 years, so what about the next 20? Where is it going, and is there a future for media agencies given all the sophisticated technology, in-housing and big platform plays that control the data? We're joined by Doug Pearce, the former Chairman, and Group CEO at the Omnicom Media Group. Doug left OMG in 2018 to form his own company, the Doohken Network. We're also joined by Jun Yuan, who is the Founder and CEO of Cross-Border Digital Marketing Consulting firm, SparkX. 1. Doug and Jun’s beginnings in the China business and the transition of media 2. Jun’s SparkX: providing both outbound China for Chinese brands and inbound China for others 3. Outbound China media is still within the Small-Medium Businesses 4. Inside/Outside Media Buying will split the media buying world into 2 camps 5. China is further developed in first-party data and evolving their CDPs, while the West is further along with Martech 6. How do influencers fit in within the programmatic and tech media ecosystems? 7. KOCs and the eventual monetization of consumers to sell products for brands 8. Can outbound China players build brands abroad is it all low-cost ROI-driven solutions? 9. China’s media ecosystem is more effective, lower-priced and highly targeted 10. What’s the future of the media agency? A bullshit filter 11. A/B Test: INXS, Harleys, New York, & Melbourne
The Leaving China Show
June 10, 2022 • 46 MIN
This episode is for those who are thinking of leaving China, maybe now or in the future. In this episode, we're joined by 2 "experts of experience" who left China to return home and can share their experiences about adjusting, why they left and what they really miss. For many, especially the expatriate population, the Shanghai lockdown has become a time to re-evaluate future priorities as foreign companies consider reducing both staff and investments in the country. Meet Milo Chao who is currently the Chief Strategy Officer for ad agency, DDB Chicago. Milo was formally CSO for DDB China and later, TBWA. Milo returned to the US in 2019. We're also joined by Ker Gibbs, who is currently an Executive in Residence at the University of San Francisco. Ker is best known as the past President of the American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai from 2019 to 2021 but has been in China for most of his career. He returned to the US in the early part of the year. 1. Why did you come to China, why did you stay so long and why did you leave? 2. When is the right time to leave? Has Shanghai lost its mojo? 3. Will Shanghai change past the lockdown? Will expats leave or eventually come back? Is this the fall off the cliff moment? 4. The evolution of Shanghai: now we're in a more developed stage & the role of foreigners have changed. 5. Foreign companies vs. Foreigners: How will China adjust post-Covid? 6. Returning Home: How do you prepare for repatriation? What are the transferrable skills? 7. If you can make it in China, you can make it anywhere...China is still an important market 8. Expect 2 years to get acclimated to your home culture leaving China 9. Keep your networking prospects and start right now before you leave... 10. The post-China job market realities: a. WFH is the new normal. b. Growth of the Gig Economy. c. Big global labor shortage 11. Are there still opportunities in China? Yes, but be prepared! 12. A/B Test: Ding Tai Feng, Cui Jian, Baguettes, and the Shangri-La!
The Next Generation of China Advertising: Super KOL, Mia Liu
June 24, 2022 • 29 MIN
Our 20th Episode! Today we meet Mia Liu, she's a famous influencer and fashion blogger, or, as they say in China, Key Opinion Leader (KOL). With over 3 million fans on Weibo, Mia creates engaging content for big global brands including, Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, and L'Oreal. Armed with a Master's in Marketing, Mia represents the new face of China advertising.. 1. Why on earth would you want to be a Chinese KOL? For Mia, it was being a fashion editor 2. What’s Mia’s typical day look like? How does she get clients? 3. Is being a KOL a stressful life or is it truly a glamorous job? 4. What’s the difference between an MCN, KOL and KOC? 5. How does a KOL in China make money? 6. Is China moving more towards performance KOLs or brand KOL? 7. How do KOLs get discovered by the brands? 8. Mia’s favorite brand collaborations: WeWork and Durex 9. Not all KOLs livestream. Brands need both bloggers and sales 10. Mia’s magic?: be true to yourself and don’t forget the “opinion” in KOL 11. Mia’s next 5 years: be a KOL for life! 12. A/B Test: Kylie Jenner + Pink + Weibo + 兰州牛肉面
Making Documentaries in China: Oscar Winner, Malcolm Clarke + Producer, Han Yi
July 8, 2022 • 47 MIN
We are talking about making documentary films in China with 2-time Oscar-winning, 4 time nominated Academy Award documentary film director, Malcolm Clarke. We are also joined by Han Yi, a Golden Horse-winning producer of documentary films. Malcolm is originally from the UK while Yi is from Chengdu, but both are currently living in Shanghai. Malcolm and Yi reside at Artefact Entertainment, and have collaborated on a number of recent films, including "Better Angels"; the mini-series, "A Long Cherished Dream", and most recently, the controversial, "Hong Kong Returns". Malcolm & Yi share both the joys and challenges of making documentaries in China, a genre growing more popular with the popularity of digital media. 1. How did you get into documentaries and how did you meet Malcolm? 2. "Better Angels" - the 2-month project that ended taking 6 years. 3. Successful documentaries are all about achieving the right timing 4. Making documentaries are way more difficult to make than fiction films 5. Documentaries are on the rise in China because they are now accepted by moviegoers 6. Moving beyond the movie theatre success matrix for documentaries in a world of digital 7. About "A Long Cherished Dream": stories about Chinese emerging from poverty 8. We don't make propaganda films 9. "Hong Kong Returns": 10 short films & why they did them 10. Short format films provide the right format and arena to convey documentaries 11. Future projects in the pipeline: "Drive Like a Girl" & the life and times of eccentric scientist, Joseph Needham 12. A/B Test: No spicy food, NYU, & Jack Ass
Taking Brand China to the World: Ogilvy PR's Scott Kronick
July 22, 2022 • 37 MIN
We sat down with former Asia-Pacific CEO of Ogilvy PR, Scott Kronick, who is indisputably the father of modern PR in China. Scott lived in China for 29 years and is easily one of the longest serving agency leaders, foreigner or Chinese, in the China ad business. What's it going to take for Chinese brands to go abroad? This is the question we asked Scott, who's been behind the effort to take many successful and large-scale brands outside of China. China used to be about cheap goods, but now it represents attributes largely unknown back when Scott first came to China. Scott is now a Senior Advisor for Ogilvy PR, as well as the author of the book, "The Lighter Side of China". He's also an Adjunct Professor at Beijing University. 1. The big moment that China brands came into the world (besides the Beijing 2008 Olympics): 2. Do China brands need to promote their country of origin? Is "Made in China" a good thing? 3. Should more Chinese brands on Amazon embrace brand campaigns to increase their premiumness? 4. Chinese brands fail abroad when they don't understand the nuances of the local markets 5. Peaceful Coexistence of China & the rest of the world: Business that helps people more productive is more apolitical 6. What are the consistent communications mistakes of China's going abroad? 7. Where can China & US find common ground? Healthcare, Climate & Sports? 8. We couldn't resist asking Scott about Eileen Gu 9. Scott's career advice for those interested in getting into the Chinese PR business 10. Scott's advice to his 25-year-old self. 11. A/B Test: Orange (not Red), David Ogilvy, Sir Martin & Mark Read
China + Europe: The Cross Continental E-Commerce Connection: Victoria Glanz
August 5, 2022 • 48 MIN
Meet Victoria Glanz, a 12-year expert in bringing foreign brands to China and successfully launching them in e-commerce. Until recently, she led international expansion for Baozun, China's leading e-commerce service provider, launching its offices in Paris. She is launching a new company called Sesame that helps brands sell better online, taking her experience from China. You'll quickly discover there isn't much about China e-commerce that Victoria doesn't know. 1. I never chose e-commerce in the first place, but not it's my obsession day and night. 2. The demand is ready in Europe for e-commerce, but the offer is not yet being served 3. Conversion Phase: the biggest difference between Europe & China's e-commerce markets 4. Traditional Brands in Europe Still See Digital as a Sideshow 5. Social Commerce -will the China model work in Europe? 6. Any thoughts on Ali Express? 7. To do big volume, don't go on WeChat 8. Live Commerce: Will it work in Europe?: It depends upon the volumes 9. What will happen post-Austin Li? 10. Is China still a great market for brands? 50% is No! 11. What about DTC commerce models in China? 12. How do get into the e-commerce business? Just do it. 13. A/B Test: Shanghai, the French Riveria and No Ris de Veau
Reimagining the Chinese Workspace Under the New Normal - Dominic Penaloza
August 19, 2022 • 47 MIN
What's the state of the workspace in Shanghai these days? What are the latest trends in work environments what's the role of technology? Will China go with the rest of the world and adapt the hybrid working model? Meet ex-Naked Hub/ex-WeWork China executive Dominic Penaloza to answer these questions. Dominic is a serial entrepreneur and has lived in Shanghai for 16 years. He was previously the founder of the professional social platform, You Shi, before moving into a role as Chief Technology & Innovation Officer at Naked Hub, a Shanghai-based company where he, his team, the technology products they built, and the business model innovation those technology products enabled resulted in WeWork acquiring naked Hub for USD 400 million in 2018. Dominic was WeWork’s head of technology and innovation for Greater China until 2020, and now he’s back to his entrepreneurial roots exploring various business opportunities and advising companies in the areas of Future of Work, Future of Mobility, and the intersection of technology and real estate.
The Eventual Demise of the Automobile & The Rise of Chinese Mobility - Bill Russo
September 2, 2022 • 55 MIN
OUR 25th EPISODE! Meet Bill Russo, Founder and CEO of Shanghai-based Automobility. Bill founded a strategy and investment advisory firm that helps its clients build and profit from the future of mobility. In this episode, Bill provides a bleak outlook for the foreign automobile manufacturers in China who have missed the opportunity to re-think mobility as something more efficient, more environmentally friendly, and fundamentally more profitable than the current model, which relies purely on a one-time sale of a product and its eventual maintenance and repair. To Bill, the automobile is the least efficient device on Earth, but China companies are now leading the world in redefining automobile ownership.
The Future of the Chinese Metaverse: Unilever's Tom Hui Young
September 16, 2022 • 39 MIN
Tom Hui Young talks about his real passion, the metaverse, and how it will change how we live, shop, work, and interact with products. Tom is a molecular biologist, but his true passion lives in the human experience in a virtual world. If you thought the metaverse was about geeky Mark Zuckerberg avatars and bulky Oculus glasses, this is the episode for you! Tom is an innovator, software architect, data scientist, futurist, runner, and entrepreneur. He holds a Ph.D. from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Biomathematics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology. Tom has spent a long time researching virology, molecular biology, and genomic health, co-founded a digital health startup, steered data science and AI at Accenture China, and is most recently running the data and AI function at Unilever China as their Global AI Director and North Asia Data Head.
The China/America Education Connection: NYU Shanghai's Jeffrey Lehman
September 30, 2022 • 37 MIN
Is China still a great place to study? Despite the geopolitical differences, some institutions are keeping the spirit of positive collaboration between China and America alive, and one of them is NYU. We spoke to NYU Shanghai's Vice Chancellor, Jeffrey Lehman, about the globalization of education. Why, despite Covid restrictions, should students consider China a place to study?
The Rising China Sports Fashion Industry: Gavin Lum of Lululemon
October 14, 2022 • 35 MIN
What's new with the sports fashion industry in China? Now at $45 billion US annually, it continues to expand and grow. Everyone is getting into the game, including luxury brands. Gucci, Prada, and LV are all getting into street fashion to attract younger targets. And with the strength of local brands, will market leaders Nike and Adidas weather the storm? We are talking to Gavin Lum, who's spent the last 14 years in China working for leading agencies and brands, all dedicated to the sports industry. Gavin previously worked at the agency Weiden + Kennedy before moving to a career at Adidas. He currently serves as Digital Brand Director at Lululemon China, based in Shanghai.
Exporting Made in China Through Influencers: Relay Club's Jim Fields
October 28, 2022 • 46 MIN
Can Chinese brands get a voice abroad? Today we are talking to Jim Fields. He's a social media influencer on YouTube and BiliBili with tens of thousands of followers - and he recently founded an influencer management platform for Chinese brands going outbound called, which has just finished a round of angel fundraising.
The Road to China Marketing Effectiveness with Dhiren Amin
November 11, 2022 • 42 MIN
Has China’s obsession with achieving sales targets sacrificed long-term brand growth, or does it matter anymore? Now with another Single's Day shopping event behind us, we look at the state of brand building in a market dominated by e-commerce sales campaigns. We're talking to Dhiren Amin, currently CMO at NTUC Income, based in Singapore. H was previously Asia CMO for Kraft-Heinz, based in Shanghai. Dhiren is one of the most active CMOs in the effectiveness awards space and is a big proponent of their participation.
Big 2023 China Retail Predictions with Kantar's Jason Yu
November 25, 2022 • 45 MIN
We've spent much time talking about China's e-commerce boom, but what about traditional trade? 9 out of 10 purchase decisions in China are aided by a trip to the store. Today we're talking about traditional trade and big retail trends, and we're honored to have Jason Yu, Managing Director for Greater China at Kantar Worldpanel. You'll quickly learn why Jason is the undisputed expert on China retail.
China Marketing During the Tough Times: Inner Chapter's Julien Lapka
December 19, 2022 • 45 MIN
Season 1's Final Episode welcomes our #1 most downloaded guest, insights expert, and Founder of Inner Chapter, Julien Lapka. Julien gazes into his crystal ball and gives us some "healthy" predictions for 2023. And despite the recent opening of Zero Covid, Julien remains optimistic for 2023. 1. Why is 2022 his best year of business so far. 2. Moving from brand to product-based marketing 3. Reaching difficult target groups, especially the +55-year-olds, 2022's most sought-after demographic. 4. Product marketing's origins come from e-commerce search results 5. Doing ethnography research during the Covid lockdown times 6. Julien's take on "new normal" product trends: soul searching & the end of bling 7. Brands can be more proactive in improving people's lives. 8. China's upcoming recession: is this an opportunity for brands & companies? 9. What's driving the recent negative confidence, and when will we come out of it? 10. Should brands keep on messages of positivity during tough times? 11. A/B Test: Trick Math, China & Innovation!
(ENCORE PERFORMANCE): Evolving From KOLs to Chinese Influencer Groups: Julien Lapka
January 10, 2023 • 33 MIN
Encore Performance: (Recorded, Feb 8, 2022) - Our #1 most downloaded episode from Season 1! What's the future of influencer marketing in China? To insights expert Julien Lapka, successful brands focus on influencer groups rather than KOL powerhouses such as Austin Li. It comes down to uncovering unique insights not often found in databases. Julien is the founder of Inner Chapter, an agency that turns insights into commercial IP. Julien is also co-owner of Revolving Door, a speakeasy behind a small coffee shop located near XinTianDi in Shanghai.
(ENCORE PERFORMANCE): Annie Su & the Intersection of Food & Advertising
January 17, 2023 • 23 MIN
Meet Annie Su, she's a full-time marketing executive and part-time foodie. Originally from Taiwan, most of her career has been in advertising agencies before recently joining the client side. She spent the prime of her career with Ogilvy, first in Taipei, then Beijing, and finally, Shanghai. Annie is also the author of 2 books, 1. 日尝时光:下班陪你进厨房 2. 当冰箱:只剩下乌鱼子, books about food, stories, culture, and the human experience. You learn why Annie has had a successful career in the fine art of listening to others. 1. Food & advertising: how are they connected 2. Cooking food & telling stories: about Annie's first book 3. Traveling, Conversations & Stories: about Annies 2nd book 4. A future in advertising? Annie's advice for her younger self: Forever Young 5. Join the client or agency after university?: Annie's answer will surprise you
Civilization's Andrew Lok & the Business of Creativity
January 27, 2023 • 47 MIN
Welcome to Season 2! Today we are talking about creativity in the marketing and advertising industry, and we’re honored to have one of China’s most award-winning Creative Directors, Andrew Lok, on today’s show. He started his career in Singapore as a journalist for UPI, but decided it was more fun to create news than report it, so he joined the advertising industry. After stints raising the creative rankings of Ogilvy China, based in Guangzhou and Beijing, he moved to Shanghai, where he served as Executive Creative Director for BBDO. In 2012, he founded Civilization, based in Shanghai, now one of China’s top independent agencies. Andrew is among the most awarded Creatives in China and speaks Mandarin, English, and German.
Tapping into China's Great Outdoors - Matthew Jung of Jack Wolfskin
February 10, 2023 • 44 MIN
Recreational camping used to be a niche in China, but now it's become a bit of a rage. The China outdoor market reached $60 billion in 2018 and is expected to hit $100 billion by 2025. By all estimates, around 100 million Chinese go camping every year, which is a small number relevant to the population, but that's a higher number than the 40 million Americans who go camping! What's causing the sudden rise in interest for camping? To discuss this, we have industry veteran Matthew Jung, General Manager Greater China for German outdoor brand, Jack Wolfskin. Mathew, or as his friends call him, MJ, has been in Asia for close to 25 years, first starting in the hotel industry at Starwood in Hong Kong, before he moved to Taiwan with Nike where he was Marketing Director. He then moved to Shanghai in 2010 with Nike and later to the Converse brand in 2018, where he was VP and General Manager. MJ later joined Jack Wolfskin in January 2022.
Marketing Consumer Occasions on Douyin/Tik Tok with VMLY&R's JJ Wang
February 24, 2023 • 37 MIN
Can Tik Tok market to specific consumer occasions, encouraging trial and purchase? Meet JJ Wang, Senior Business Leader at WPP agency VMLY&R, based in Shanghai. She's the recent author of an interesting whitepaper about occasion marketing, co-authored with Douyin/Tik Tok. JJ has been in the industry for about 10 years and believes in building brand culture, even in digital times. For Myers Briggs fans, JJ is an ESFJ. 1. What's Occasion Marketing, and how is it different from Mass Marketing? 2. How does Occasion Marketing work in the digital space? 3. The evolution of China beverage products and the need for multiple occasion moments 4. The Pick, Plan, and Lock Model Explained 5. How many content posts are needed for Occasion Marketing 6. Could Occasion Marketing apply to other categories? 7. Is this more effective than paying an influencer to sell your product? 8. Does this extend to other platforms besides Tik Tok? 9. Any good insights from the white paper? Gamers love powdered beverages 10. How does impulsiveness work on a social media platform in China? 11. How does Occasion Marketing work for smaller-budget brands? 12. Does creativity have a role in Occasion Marketing? 13. Is the ad business still a good place to start for young women? 14. A/B Test: Shanghai, Social, RED, Insights
How China is Leading in Innovation & How the West Can Catch Up: Author, Joanna Hutchins
March 26, 2023 • 46 MIN
Joanna Hitchins is the recent author of "Chinafy: How China is Leading In Innovation and How the Rest of the World Can Catch Up," now available on Amazon & Kinokuniya. In the book, Joanna explores 9 key catalysts that all businesses can effectively "Chinafy" their business. Joanna has over 25 years of experience leading B2B and B2C businesses globally, with over 20 years of experience in China. In addition to her many agency roles, Joanna spent over 9 years at Unilever, rising to a Global Brand Director based in Shanghai. 1. What's the reason for the book, and why are you writing it now? 2. What's the cultural lens of the 9 catalysts, and are these innovations just a question of circumstances? 3. Are Western companies becoming too topical in their strategic planning? Do we romanticize invention? 4. Does the size of China makes conditions for small players to compete with big ones? China remains the world's most competitive market 5. What are Big S and Small S? How can Western companies be more Small S? 6. How does China take advantage of Reverse Innovation, and why is it a big win for the masses? 7. China's Small S example: BYD: would America be ready for a $16,000 electric car? 8. Should global brands embrace the catalysts if they are doing business in China? 9. Embracing China Innovation: KFC 10. A/B: Small S, Data, Year 2023, KFC, BYD & Unilever!
The Future of Brands, Creativity, & Technology: A Conversation with Ogilvy China CEO, Chris Reitermann
April 28, 2023 • 54 MIN
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Chris Reitermann, the Co-Chief Executive of Ogilvy Asia and CEO of Greater China, about the role of AI in the advertising business in China. With an impressive 28-year career at Ogilvy, Chris has been instrumental in the successful rise of advertising in China. Ogilvy China is one of the largest and most respected agencies in the country, and it was awarded Integrated Marketing Agency of the Year by Campaign Asia in 2022. So, what does Chris have to say about the future of AI in branding in China? 1. Are we at another crossroads with the rise of AI? How will AI impact the business of advertising in China? Are agencies still relevant? 2. Will AI fully automate the advertising process? What will be the human role in the creative process? 3. Once far ahead, is China behind the AI curve now? 4. The agency's role has fundamentally not changed, despite the mediums and tools that have changed. 5. Where will China evolve post-Covid, and how has this changed the country's optimism? 6. Where does work/life balance fit into post-Covid agency culture? 7. Is an agency a place for a new recruit, or should they join the brand side? 8. How does Ogilvy balance experts and integration under a single office network? 9. Good growth is just around the corner for both agencies and brands in China 10. Local clients vs. global client needs are different - it's the local clients that want brand building 11. What are the biggest challenges for Chinese brands going global? 12. What's the importance of technology for agency services in China? 13. What's your favorite David Ogilvy quote? 14. Hey, are you still in China? Is China a regional hub? 15. A/B Test: Creatvity, Shanghai, MidJourney & KFC
Inside China's Beauty Business with Stéphane Wilmet
May 27, 2023 • 50 MIN
Stéphane Wilmet, a highly accomplished executive in the consumer beauty industry, joins our show today. With over 30 years of experience, Wilmet has held prominent positions in the United States and China. Notably, he served as the Chief Consumer Officer at L'Oréal China, overseeing consumer strategic branding, insights, foresight, and M&A activities, playing a crucial role in shaping the company's brand strategies and understanding the Chinese market. During the pandemic, Wilmet returned to the United States and worked as the Senior Vice President, of M&A, at L'Oréal USA in New York. He works as an advisor to private equity firms and shares his expertise as a guest lecturer at various business schools. 1. Off-topic, but any interest in buying a motorcycle? 2. We know that the beauty business in China is big, but are market nuances that the world can learn from China regarding how business is run here? (Hint: scale and speed) 3. How did L'Oreal stay vigilant with new product development? 4. How do we continue to build brands in a deep discount live stream environment? 5. Livestream help cast a net to recruit new consumers, but how do brands deal with high returns? 6. Will Western and Chinese beauty shopping behavior converge? Are shopping patterns becoming the same as digital ecosystems become similar? 7. Do beauty brands need an offline presence given the power of online? 8. Will we have a time that Chinese beauty brands will go global? 9. Any amazing Chinese beauty brands that you have your eye on? 10. How do young people get into the beauty industry? 11. Are men welcome in the beauty industry? 12. A/B Test: Authentic/New York/C/K/J-Beauty - what's C-Beauty's role?/ Virtual KOLs
Unmasking China's Underrepresentation at Cannes: A Missed Opportunity?
July 7, 2023 • 47 MIN
Why was China a no-show at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this year? Is it the quality of the work, or is it because China is no longer interested in participating on the global stage? We talk to 2 people who have just come back from Cannes Lions, and they give us their unique perspective. Our guests today are Robert Sawatzky, Asia Editor Director at Campaign Asia, a part of Haymarket Media. Robert's work has been showcased across various platforms, from CNN to Campaign UK, highlighting his significant influence in the media landscape. Joining Robert, we have Rogier Bikker; Rogier moved to China at the young age of 21 and has made his mark on the digital sector in China over the past 15 years. Known for pushing creative boundaries and winning medals at the Campaign Agency of the Year shows, he sold his agency TOMORROW to S4 Capital's MediaMonks and is now the Managing Director of Greater China. 1. Are awards shows still important? Do they translate to business results? 2. What were your high and low points of Cannes? 3. Cannes is still the "World Cup" of the industry and sets the bar for the industry's best. 4. Why didn't China show up? Only 1% of the submissions from China 5. Is Cannes now becoming a tech show? 6. Cannes is still under-represented by young creatives who can be inspired by the show. 7. Is it because Global doesn't understand Chinese creativity, or the creativity is too executional? 8. Was any cool AI stuff, or was it in the work? 9. What was your favorite campaign of this show? 10. Is China's global conundrum about framing China's innovation for a global audience? 11. A/B Test: Awesome or Average? Of Course, Awesome!
China Transforming Digital: Insights from Wiredcraft's CEO, Ronan Berder
July 27, 2023 • 54 MIN
What does it take for brands in China to transform their businesses to be digital-ready? We asked Wiredcraft CEO and Co-founder Ronan Berder to provide his insights into what companies need to evolve their businesses. Ronan has been instrumental in driving digital innovation and transformation for such brands as Starbucks, Nike, and Hilton and provides us with stories and strategies behind China's digital revolution. 1. What is digital transformation? How can you work with these major companies and what lessons can other businesses learn? 2. What has led to such rapid adoption of digital transformation in China? How have payments and digital wallets forced companies to change? 3. How much of China is exportable now that you're doing regional markets? 4. How much of the type of transformation will help Chinese brands export outside of China? 5. How successful have brands done to do it on their own without the big e-commerce platforms? 6. Are there specific categories that benefit from direct-to-consumer business? 7. Is direct-to-consumer too hard, and is it much easier to push media to consumers? 8. What are your thoughts about AI, and how can brands use it to maximize their digital transformation plans? 9. What recommendations to get into a business like yours? Is this truly the future of the advertising industry? 10. A/B Test: Mini-Programs/Shanghai/Wechat & Burberry
Rocking China with Dr. Andrew Field
August 25, 2023 • 54 MIN
We're talking rock and roll with Dr. Andrew Field, Associate Professor of Chinese History at Duke Kunshan University. Andrew is the recent author of "Rocking China", a book that traces the rise and spread of indie rock from the rock capital of Beijing to Shanghai and to other places in China. Through interviews with key players, Dr. Field explores the meanings of rock music in China society and many obstacles to developing indie rock in the country.
Shanghai Ning in NYC: Estee Lauder's Gary Chu & Mark Jiang
September 21, 2023 • 55 MIN
Ali and Bryce were expats in Shanghai; what's it like for two Chinese senior global marketing executives living in New York? Today's podcast interviews Gary Chu and Mark Jiang from the Estee Lauder Companies, based in New York. ELC includes brands such as Estee Lauder, Clinique, MAC, La Mer, and Tom Ford Beauty. Gary was VP for the Online business from 2014 to 2020 and was responsible for leading the company's dominance in China e-commerce across 12 flagship stores. Mark was previously VP and Brand General Manager for MAC Cosmetics China. Mark and Gary are now senior VPs leading Estee Lauder's global online ambition.
Managing Businesses & Talent in Low Growth China - Mark Wang of Grace Blue
October 19, 2023 • 41 MIN
For 20 years, China was about speed and scale, but it seems now that era has ended for many agencies and companies. Sales are dropping; budgets are being cut. Project pitching is now weekly for many agencies as brands focus solely on performance marketing. How should China businesses adjust for times that may not go as quickly as before? This week we speak to Mark Wang, Senior Consultant at Grace Blue, focusing on executive talent in marketing and communications in China. Mark previously led Edelman China and was Managing Director at OgilvyOne Beijing. Mark has also held positions at Lenovo, IBM and Dell.
Charting China's Hotel & Travel Industry's Post-Pandemic Course
November 18, 2023 • 58 MIN
We're talking about the Chinese hotel and travel industry today and are joined by Hugh Xu, a veteran in the travel and hospitality sectors with over 20 years of experience. Hugh has held critical roles in several Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, he served as the General Manager of Sales & Marketing at Sunmei Hotel Group, overseeing over 500 properties and 28 brands. Before that, he was with the Huazhu Hotel Group, managing sales and marketing for their upscale brands. Hugh's expertise extends to digital marketing and e-commerce, having driven significant initiatives at the NH Hotel Group and Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Chinese Design & the Making of a Multinational Brand: Danny Du
December 18, 2023 • 47 MIN
This episode focuses on the elements behind Chinese design, its unique characteristics, and how it's shaping global design ethos. Please welcome Danny Du, whose work in Shanghai, particularly with the Geely Design Global and now at BASF's Creation Center has marked him as a leader, bringing Chinese design aesthetics to the world.
Will Livestream Commerce Become a Hit Outside China? Agree or Disagree?
December 28, 2023 • 29 MIN
Welcome to Season 3 of ShanghaiZhan! We thought for this season, we would try something a bit different. In addition to our popular interviews, Ali and I will cover pressing issues ourselves in a series called Agree or Disagree. Will live stream commerce become a hit outside of China? Livestreaming is projected to hit $65 billion in the U.S., representing 5% of total e-commerce. Livestream channels on TikTok have made it more approachable to consumers outside of China, and viewer numbers, although still relatively small, are growing. In China, live streaming is an enigma, with over 500 million consumers regularly engaging in live streaming. Chinese shoppers use live streams to find their favorite brands and get deals, while in the West, it is considered a form of entertainment. Bryce thinks it will take off big time, especially when celebrity influencers get involved, and the production values improve. Ali disagrees. Live stream will have its place in the media mix, but it won't be as big as in China. What do you think? Agree or Disagree?
The China Entrepreneur Show: Jing-A Beer & the Making of a Local Brand
January 11, 2024 • 55 MIN
What does starting a successful brand from ZERO in the Middle Kingdom take? We spoke to Alex Acker and Kristian Li, co-founders of Jing A Beer. Based in Beijing, Jing-A now has 10 tap rooms in the capital, with one in Shenzhen. Jing-A is also available in Singapore. Jing-A describes itself as a brewery that is in constant motion. Started by Kris and Alex in 2012, Jing-A is obsessed with hunting down rare ingredients and unexpected flavours to brew beers, intertwining its distinctive Beijing roots. Alex and Kris also collaborate with brewers from all over the world with the goal of making Beijing one of the great beer brewing capitals of the world. China is, after all, the world's largest beer market, generating $125.6 billion a year in sales. 1. Why did you first come to China, and how did two corporate guys quit their jobs and start a brewery? 2. Can you explain the meaning behind the name, Jing-A? It's the OG of Beijing. 3. How did you get started? What were some challenges for expats living in Beijing setting up a business? How did you overcome them? 4. What are the specific cultural nuances of drinking craft beer in China? Is beer drinking similar to how it is in the West? 5. What does it take to leap into entrepreneurship out of the corporate world? Be Conservative 6. What did the competition look like for you? How did you move people from the competition? 7. What marketing tips can you provide to brands that want to get started? 8. What is the difference between Shanghai's and Beijing's experiences? 9. The AQI beer idea: how to connect the culture to the product 10. What's the situation post-COVID? Has there been a return? How did COVID impact you? 11. Tell us about the 8 X 8 Brewing Project 12. If you did it all over again....would you still do it? How much did timing and luck impact your success? 13. A/B Test: Community, Worker Pale Ale, China 2008!
Performance Marketing China: The End of Advertising as We Know It?
January 25, 2024 • 34 MIN
Has performance marketing signaled the end of traditional marketing in China? Traditional marketing focuses more on slowly building brand awareness, creating a slow burn, and driving an emotional connection with consumers. On the other hand, performance marketing is more about results in the quest to drive sales and leads. Thanks to digital platforms, China's advertising is now 79% devoted to performance marketing. Brands are throwing away long-term emotive ads and are going for communications that quickly drive the bottom line. Is this simply lazy marketing? Can advertising be both emotive AND performance-led? Ali and I debate this on today's episode, providing insights for small brands and countline brands to break through the clutter.
Future Proofing the China Agency: Mindshare China's CEO: Ben Condit
February 8, 2024 • 51 MIN
Will AI become a hindrance or a revolution to Chinese media? Mindshare China CEO Ben Condit says bring it on! Condit sees AI as the answer to much of the overcomplexity in China's tech platforms, some of which require over 11 stops to book a single piece of media. Ben gives us an insider perspective of why Mindshare China is constantly recognized as one of China's largest, most successful, and awarded agencies. 1. Why is your life like a box of chocolates as China CEO? Or is it a roller coaster? 2. Map out the evolution of Mindshare China and the reason for its success. 3. How important is low cost in media pitches? Cost is not always the most important factor. 4. Are media agencies becoming digital agencies? Where's the line drawn these days? 5. How do client leaders navigate a huge relationship with the client C-suite? How do you rally an organization? 6. Where do you see Mindshare's growth opportunities? 7. Why are the big media platforms becoming so complex? Surprisingly, it's easier in China. 8. Given the complexity, where is the body of the talent coming from? 9. Why are you so excited about AI? Isn't this a bad thing for talent? What new talent will you be looking for? 10. How do you stay an expert in an international leadership role? 11. A/B Test: Partners, Economics, & Strategy & LIFE!
The Best of the Best 2024 China Marketing Trends Show
February 22, 2024 • 31 MIN
What are the big marketing, advertising, and technology trends facing China in 2024? Ali and Bryce scoured the internet so you don't have to, uncovering 3 trends we think everyone should be paying attention to. What are the "meh" trends - the ones we have seen before, ones without context or thought, or ones simply that won't happen at all? We call these "BS Trends." Ali's Trends: 1. China's Rise of Mindful Consumption: How can brands take advantage of this trend? 2. Personalization & AI: What do you win/lose as a marketer with hyper-personalization? Bryce's Trend: The Revenge of Creative Mediocrity in social media + Quiet Selling: Chinese are getting bored & brands are getting lost. What to do about it? The BS'll have to listen and find out!
Ad Fraud: How Bad is it? With FouAnalytics Founder, Dr. Augustine Fou
March 8, 2024 • 49 MIN
China ad fraud has been in the headlines recently, and we wanted to have a show about it. As expected, getting someone on the show to discuss this sensitive topic has been impossible. But we finally found one: Dr. Augustine Fou. He is the Founder of Fou Analytics and a leading expert in the field, boasting a profound understanding of digital marketing, cybersecurity, and advertising. With a Ph.D. from MIT, Dr. Fou has been on the frontline of programmatic and digital marketing for three decades. 1. What is ad fraud? What is it, and how does it work? 2. What's the motivation to buy fraudulent ads? 3. Are impressions still an important measure of advertisement effectiveness? 4. Can we buy on the big platforms where the humans go? 5. Why do they engage in ad fraud if they're not getting the results? The marketing/sales disconnect 6. Is there an opportunity for new and emerging brands to use advertising as it was meant to be used? 7. Can AI help relieve the ad fraud problem? The answer is no. 8. How do brand relieve their addiction to ad fraud practices? 9. How do you drop in tags that may reveal ad fraud (that may ultimately rejected by some publishers)? 10. Where do you think ad fraud relief will go? Enter the CFO. 11. A/B Test: Humans, 1 Billion, Platforms, and Humans
Livestream Recap Episode: 2024 China at the Crossroads: What Stood Out to Us
March 23, 2024 • 33 MIN
Where is China heading in 2024? Ali and Bryce decided to do a quick recap of our livestream event last week to highlight a couple of the major trends that stood out for us. You can watch the livestream event by clicking below OR download the entire report yourself. Check out the link below. 1. What surprised you? How will advertisers react based on the trends based on the investment scenarios? Brands will spend a lot more on last-mile. 2. The reconfiguration of media spending blew Bryce away, especially. the rise of Xiaohongshu and Douyin and the importance of social commerce over traditional commerce. People are taking more time to decide on what they want to buy. 3. What's the magic behind Xiaohongshu (RED)? Could it go global? 4. How will brands embrace more loyalty/private traffic? Will this help them overcome the economic slump and slowdown in sales, or should they continue to focus on acquisition? 5. How do you define loyalty in the new China? 6. What should be the priority for brand spend? Is this a good time for brands to take a longer-term approach?
Made Better by China: Authors, Bessie Lee & Peter Bomer
April 8, 2024 • 52 MIN
Ali and Bryce welcome authors Bessie Lee and Peter Bomer of the book, "China Inside Out," which explores themes of innovation, entrepreneurship, and challenges through interviews with some of China's leading business minds. The interviews were taken from Bessie's popular podcast, Bei Wang Lu(贝望录). Bei Wang Lu showcases the thoughts and actions of leading market and business leaders in China. Bessie is the former CEO of WPP and GroupM and is currently CEO of JLL. Peter is currently CEO of The China Hack. China Inside Out explores themes such as the digital transformation in Chinese retail, the distinctive characteristics of Chinese entrepreneurs, innovation strategies, and the challenges and opportunities within China's unique business environment with guests like Wang Zhimin, is Founder & Chairman of Nova Vision, Liu Xiaolu co-founder NEIWAI, and Hou Yongpu, Founder of Yongpu Coffee. 1. What's behind the Bei Wang Lu(贝望录) name? 2. What inspired you to write a book, and why did you choose these stories? 3. How do Chinese entrepreneurs handle trial and error, and how is it different from the Western model? 4. Is entrepreneurship still alive in China now that the country is experiencing a slowdown? 5. The small-scale scope for Chinese entrepreneurs: Is there a system that allows flexibility? 6. How do Chinese brands adapt so well to consumer needs? 7. How do foreign brands create success in today's China? What does it take to win? 8. How do you describe China brand growth - is it niche' or is it about scale? 9. A/B: Memos, New Shores, China Innovation & Restless Experimentation
China's 10 Considerations for Marketers in 2024: Chris Baker & Minnie Wang
April 23, 2024 • 54 MIN
How can brands take advantage of China's new transformation? We decided to invite our livestream episode guests, Chris Baker, founder of Totem, and Minne Wang, Senior Reporter with Campaign Asia, for an in-depth discussion on 5 of the 10 considerations in Totem Media's 2024 report. The report (with links below) is a must-read for anyone looking to navigate the complexities of marketing in China for the next few years. 1. Consideration 1: Value Purchases rule - will this impact brands with weak value propositions? We think so. 2. Consideration 2: Wealth Divides Growing - are we seeing changes in the ever-important middle class? 3. Consideration 3: Trust is Under Pressure: Consumers increasingly scrutinize their purchase decisions, including those in CPG categories. How should brands respond? 4. Consideration 4: Social Commerce is Still Key - are we seeing a move away from Taobao and a greater focus on RED and Douyin? 5. Consideration 5: Brands Need Impact (and not just impressions): How do brands simultaneously focus on brand building while driving sales? How do we prioritize with fewer brand campaigns? 6. A/B Test
The Temu + Shein Chinese E-commerce Invasion
May 9, 2024 • 45 MIN
Welcome to the latest invasion, no it's not TikTok but Shein & Temu! It's hard to imagine that 4 of the top 8 U.S. iPhone App Store apps are from China. While TikTok and Capcut make the list, the two big surprises are e-commerce juggernauts Temu and Shein. These companies operate unique, manufacturer-to-customer business models and do not manufacture products but simply work with armies of factories throughout China to use powerful algorithms to serve up a plethora of options. Shein reached an estimated $24 billion in revenue in 2022, while Temu reached 161 million users throughout the world. What's the future of these two platforms? How will Amazon respond? 1. Why have these two platforms become so popular? How do they work? How are they different? 2. What makes these platforms uniquely Chinese? What things are similar to their Chinese platforms? 3. How is Temu disrupting the market, given that it doesn't sell recognized brands and people have to wait to get its stuff? 4. Advantage Shein: consumer-responsive fashion 5. Given its incredibly responsive manufacturing model, will Shein develop more up-market products, or will it stay on the low end? 6. Morgan Stanley says that Temu's growth is non-sustainable. Will Amazon pick up the slack? 7. How will Temu impact China's manufacturing tiers? Will it enable them to sell name brands and compete against Amazon? 8. Does Temu need to deliver a group-buy model to survive against Amazon? 9. Will Costco-style value brands emerge from the Temu model? 10. The importance of time spent on the platform and how it will impact Temu/Shein business performance.
The 2024 Beijing Autoshow: an Auto Industry Wake-up Call, with Bill Russo
May 24, 2024 • 56 MIN
According to this week's guest, automobile industry expert Bill Russo, this year's Autoshow China, held in Beijing, was a wake-up call to the global automobile industry. China has clearly leapfrogged the global auto industry, making products that aren't just transportation vehicles but literally smartphones on wheels. According to Russo, the global auto industry is still living in the 20th century. With the EV tariffs looming in the U.S., are Westerners deprived of owning the next and best iPhone? 1. What was big at this year's Beijing auto show compared to previous ones? What made this year's show a real "wake-up call" to the auto industry? 2. What is "smartness" in EVs, and how does it differ from putting a simple plug-in EV car? 3. Why is Tesla falling behind the curve? 4. What is the smartness experience? Can you describe what it's like inside a truly smart Chinese EV? 5. What's the difference between "national security" and a "security blanket?" Will the tariffs deprive Western automakers of competition that will lead to better and more competitive innovation for their customers? 6. What is a more practical solution besides tariffs for the U.S. and Europe? Bill calls it " flipping the script." 7. How can Chinese EV auto companies stay competitive With so many new NEV brands?