You might not realize it but the next frontier in social media marketing is not Google+. It’s China. So far Chinese authorities have worked diligently to monitor and control information which moves around the growing social media landscape, but this is nothing new. China is not a democratic state and anyone who does business there understands this. But that doesn’t mean that China is forbidden territory for marketers. In fact, just the opposite. It is a wide open arena ready for the right marketers to take full advantage of the potential that exists there.
How To Speak Chinese
The most important thing for any marketer interested in working in China to consider is, do you understand how China operates? There is no need to speak Mandarin, but you better speak “Chinese Bureaucracy.” The government has specific ways of doing business and encouraging business. (Just ask Google and Apple, both of whom have had a hard time understanding this.) That is not to say they discourage free enterprise, on the contrary, they just have certain rules and demand those rules be followed.
Learn The Ropes
Once you understand how the rules work in China it’s a fairly simple thing to follow them. We follow rules (laws) here in the United States every day. The rules (laws) may be different in China, but they are printed clearly for everyone to understand. As a reward for following the rules in China you will have access to hundreds of millions of potential new customers, not to mention a firm foothold in what is so-far, an undiscovered country for western marketers.
Speaking at the China Digital Media Summit recently, Sina.com’s CEO Charles Chao pledged to curb irresponsible rumors. “Weibo is a microcosm of a big society and a society needs to be properly managed by regulations,” he said.
Chao said Sina has been working to set up a “credibility system,” which would rate Weibo posts. This, Chao said, will “spread the real valuable information and punish those who make up rumors.” The punishment includes imposing a temporary freeze on Weibo accounts, from one week to one month.
Observers of China’s new media industry say this is another attempt by Beijing to tighten the control of the internet.
Earlier this year, Chinese bloggers battled through targeted internet censorship in the wake of dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s release after nearly three months in police custody.
On Weibo words with the slightest linkage to Ai were banned, including “release,” “AWW” and “the fat guy.” The phrase “love the future,” which looks and sounds like his name in Mandarin, was also blocked.
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