Why did you choose Shanghai?
Crazy numbers and a positive vibe, not to mention a growing economy.
TV is tame by UK standards, with 16 national channels that are like the press - government-owned and highly regulated. There is not a whiff of sex, violence is never more than a slap and the 7pm news attracts 400 to 500 million viewers. The internet is less regulated and has 300 million users, while 3G will only be rolled out this year. Outdoor in Shanghai has about 2,500 outdoor vendors, many of which are government-owned firms.
How proactive are media agencies?
Agencies are already proactive and most of the Western brands are using joined-up thinking on campaigns, with one medium supporting another or experiential.
How far advanced is digital?
Digital is huge - it is used on buses, eye-level LED sites in the street and large screens in every mall entrance. The biggest surprise is that small TV screens are everywhere, a sure fixture in any lift lobby. Shopping malls, office blocks and even residential properties have them squawking away - there's no escape.
Culture and social scene
Shanghai has a work hard/play hard culture. Don't expect to leave the office before 8pm, with the occasional meeting scheduled on a Saturday.
Planning relies on knowledge of China's six main cities and, to a large extent, local culture and media consumption. Accurate up-to-date data is thin on the ground. There are many more vendors to contact and campaigns can take more time and effort to implement. The whole industry is still in its infancy in terms of development and sophistication.
One thing the UK can learn from Shanghai?
Actually, not much: the Chinese can learn from us. In some media sectors, it's like going back in time to the 1970s and 1980s, but digital is bang up to date.
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This article was first published on Media Week