Why China mat­ters

The Insider - - CONTENT -

52

Ire­cently read an ar­ti­cle about China’s im­pact on the global econ­omy where the writer summed up its in­flu­ence in the head­line, “When China sneezes, the world catches a cold.” What was once con­sid­ered a poor de­vel­op­ing coun­try has be­come a global com­mer­cial force.

This year the world’s sec­ond largest econ­omy made more head­lines in its un­prece­dented move of open­ing its pub­lish­ing doors to world, bring­ing, for the first time in his­tory, over 8,500 news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines to both Chi­nese and non-Chi­nese speak­ing peo­ple around the globe.

Through a part­ner­ship with the China In­ter­na­tional Book Trad­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (CIBTC), a sub­sidiary of the China In­ter­na­tional Pub­lish­ing Group (CIPG), PressReader is adding the coun­try’s lead­ing news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines to the 5,000+ ti­tles al­ready avail­able on PressReader.com and its iOS, An­droid, Win­dows and Black­Berry mo­bile apps.

What took so long?

As most peo­ple know, there is quite a bit of sen­si­tiv­ity in China around any­thing that in­volves pub­lish­ers, press and the dis­tri­bu­tion of me­dia, whether that be do­mes­tic or in­ter­na­tional. So it’s not sur­pris­ing that it took close to three years for PressReader to ne­go­ti­ate and se­cure this his­tor­i­cal deal.

Thank­fully, the cur­rent Chi­nese gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to its new mis­sion to make Chi­nese me­dia more open to the world and it saw unique op­por­tu­ni­ties to reach new read­ers in non­tra­di­tional mar­kets through

PressReader’s ver­ti­cal busi­ness net­work.

So although ev­ery­thing had to be vet­ted by mul­ti­ple agen­cies, de­part­ments and min­istries be­fore fi­nal ap­provals were in place, the vi­sion came to fruition on April 15, 2016.

So who cares about China’s news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines go­ing global?

Chi­nese ex­pa­tri­ates care

In 2014, 1.39 bil­lion peo­ple could speak and write in Chi­nese and more than 50 mil­lion of them live and work out­side of China. Th­ese ex­pats’ ap­petite for Chi­nese news is high, not only be­cause they want to re­main cul­tur­ally in touch with what is hap­pen­ing in their home­land, but to also com­pare what’s be­ing said about global is­sues from China and other coun­tries – some­thing they were not able to do be­fore.

Chi­nese trav­el­ers care

China out­bound tourism has been grow­ing for years, but that growth is ex­pected to pick up the pace even more from 2015’s 120 mil­lion jour­neys, as a re­sult of eco­nomic pros­per­ity, more lib­eral travel and visa poli­cies and the op­er­a­tion of more in­ter­na­tional flights en­ter­ing and ex­it­ing the coun­try.

Chi­nese stu­dents care

Since 1978, four mil­lion Chi­nese have left to study abroad and the trend isn’t show­ing any signs of chang­ing.

Out of the 500,000+ stu­dents abroad dur­ing the 2014/15 aca­demic year, more than half were study­ing in the United States (up 10.8% from the pre­vi­ous year). Chi­nese stu­dents now make up 31.2% of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents study­ing in the US, with China be­ing the num­ber one place of ori­gin for stu­dents com­ing to the states for the sixth year in a row. Th­ese young, naïve stu­dents strug­gle with in­te­grat­ing them­selves into the North Amer­i­can cul­ture and there is lit­tle lo­cal sup­port to help them as­sim­i­late into cam­pus life. Hav­ing ac­cess to pub­li­ca­tions from where they grew up and where most of their fam­ily lives, goes a long way in help­ing to ward off home­sick­ness, es­pe­cially in their first semesters.

Em­ploy­ers care

Many for­eign stu­dents find them­selves work­ing at For­tune 100 com­pa­nies (e.g. Mi­crosoft, Ama­zon, Google) be­tween semesters – stu­dents that th­ese com­pa­nies have in­vested in for years and ex­pect to hire upon grad­u­a­tion.

But as more Chi­nese stu­dents choose to grow their ca­reers in the US, busi­nesses have had to jump through costly hoops to em­ploy them be­cause of for­eign hir­ing lim­its. To cir­cum­vent this prob­lem, Mi­crosoft re­cently opened a de­vel­op­ment cen­ter in Vancouver, Canada where it re­ceived an ex­emp­tion from re­quir­ing the manda­tory La­bor Mar­ket Im­pact As­sess­ment to jus­tify hir­ing a non-Canadian.

Cre­at­ing an in­clu­sive and

fa­mil­iar en­vi­ron­ment for stu­dents goes a long way in mak­ing them want to learn, live and work here; of­fer­ing ease of ac­cess to thou­sands of pre­vi­ously un­ob­tain­able home­town news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines helps prospect em­ploy­ers sweeten the pot.

Busi­nesses care

If there is one thing ev­ery busi­ness in this shrink­ing, global world has in com­mon, it’s the need to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves with cus­tomers. In the ho­tel, cruise and air­line in­dus­tries, loy­alty pro­grams have been used to re­ward mem­bers with ex­clu­sives perks (e.g. free Wi-Fi, faster check-in, pri­vate lounges and other in-room/on-board ameni­ties).

How­ever, as one might ex­pect, as time passes and more chains mimic their com­pe­ti­tion, th­ese perks be­come con­di­tioned ex­pec­ta­tions, driv­ing mar­keters to look for other op­por­tu­ni­ties to sur­prise and de­light con­sumers, who are al­ways ask­ing, “What have you done for me lately?”

One of the lat­est ways busi­nesses are cre­at­ing unique value for peo­ple is by pro­vid­ing them with com­pli­men­tary ac­cess to thou­sands of dig­i­tal mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers. In just the past three years, this sim­ple, but pow­er­ful­ly­ef­fec­tive amenity has been en­hanc­ing cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence for over 300 mil­lion con­sumers at thou­sands ma­jor brands such as Qan­tas Air­ways, Uber, New York Pub­lic Li­brary, MSC Cruises and

Ac­cor Ho­tels. Un­til to­day, the lack of Chi­nese-lan­guage ti­tles on the PressReader plat­form lim­ited the value propo­si­tion to tens of mil­lions of Chi­nese trav­el­ers, ex­pats and stu­dents. But, no more…

With China’s mis­sion to take its con­tent to the four cor­ners of the global, the num­ber of con­sumer-cen­tric com­pa­nies look­ing to leapfrog their com­peti­tors and at­tract, en­gage with, and cre­ate more value for this un­der­served au­di­ence is grow­ing faster than one can say, “机不可

失,时不再来” [Op­por­tu­nity knocks at the door only once].

Why should pub­lish­ers care?

China’s de­ci­sion to open up its con­tent to the world may, on the sur­face, seem ir­rel­e­vant to non-Chi­nese pub­lish­ers, but that would be as short-sighted as nav­i­gat­ing around the tip of an ice­berg and ig­nor­ing what lies be­neath.

China has given all pub­lish­ers a gift by fu­el­ing a rapid ex­pan­sion of the PressReader busi­ness net­work with new ver­ti­cals look­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on a mas­sive new au­di­ence. They’ve handed me­dia ex­ecs and their ad­ver­tis­ers a huge op­por­tu­nity to grow reach and rev­enues in busi­nesses that al­ready serve the mil­lions of read­ers who travel and live out­side the pub­lish­ers’ home coun­tries.

But not only that…

While pub­lish­ers may not have been able to speak to a Chi­nese au­di­ence through their pub­li­ca­tions in the past, PressReader’s abil­ity to in­stantly trans­late their con­tent into both tra­di­tional and sim­pli­fied Chi­nese breaks down those lan­guage bar­ri­ers, al­low­ing jour­nal­ists, edi­tors and na­tive ad­ver­tis­ers to en­gage with a pre­vi­ous­ly­i­nac­ces­si­ble de­mo­graphic – an ed­u­cated and of­ten af­flu­ent au­di­ence that is hun­gry for new per­spec­tives on global is­sues and world events – per­spec­tive they could never get through tra­di­tional Chi­nese me­dia.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

To­day the dis­tri­bu­tion of con­tent has never been eas­ier and yet many pub­lish­ers still strug­gle to let go of the reins and ex­ploit the power of net­works and plat­forms that al­ready ex­ist to serve them.

Pre­fer­ring to con­trol cir­cu­la­tion chan­nels, and how, when and where read­ers con­sume con­tent, pub­lish­ers spend un­nec­es­sary dol­lars they could be in­vest­ing in qual­ity jour­nal­ism and set­tle for the tip of the rev­enue ice­berg – a frac­tion of what ac­tu­ally ex­ists.

Jeff Be­zos once said, “There’ll al­ways be serendip­ity in­volved in dis­cov­ery.” It’s time for pub­lish­ers to rein­vest in qual­ity con­tent cre­ation and take a peek below the wa­ters of China’s serendip­i­tous move into main­stream me­dia to dis­cover the true art of the pos­si­ble that lies be­neath the sur­face.

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