Getting a story out
The editorial teams are responsible, as elsewhere, for identifying interesting topics and subjects that will educate and inform their readers as to new technologies and applications that are of benefit to China.
Once the team member has a story or article of interest, this must be passed up to the Chief Editor or the Editorial Director who will judge the merits of the story and the suitability of the information for their Chinese readers.
Then, and this process can take months of consideration, the story will be approved or not and the next steps will be taken to eventually produce the final story which again must be approved before publication.
press releases from international companies are used not only for news coverage in the publications but also to educate the editorial teams. When the releases are followed up we have discovered that there is a massive need for further information. This process can lead to longer stories and company profiles at a later stage.
In China, it is vitally important to create personal relationships with the editorial teams in which trust and mutual respect is built between the company and the media. In this way the editorial teams have an opportunity to discuss their thoughts and their needs and to ask for assistance in obtaining the information they require.
International agencies tend to rely on press conferences and events plus press releases. These well tried methods from foreign markets work in some of the more internationally friendly B2C markets in China, such as fashion and music, but in the B2B sectors a different approach is essential as the editorial team's needs must be identified and satisfied.
Two-way communications is another area that can present problems to corporate organisations as communications can prove difficult. I have discovered that the internet is often not working or that the magazine prefers fax communication with a follow-up telephone conversation to explain the message therein. This is a slow process but it is highly effective.
It is also essential that editorial teams are contacted by a well informed and trained Chinese speaker who can converse directly in Mandarin (P_t_nghuà) and then liaise effectively with the client. It is vital that the main point of contact is maintained as the Chinese people do not like change or short-term relationships.
The importance of Simplified Chinese
Simplified Chinese characters are one of two standard character sets of printed contemporary Chinese scripts. The other set of script characters are the Traditional Chinese characters.
Simplified Chinese characters are the Chinese characters which have, in recent yeas, been officially simplified by the Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to promote literacy across the nation as a whole.
Simplified Chinese is now commonly used for the majority of Chinese-language printing, including trade magazines, across Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and other Chinese speaking countries. Traditional Chinese characters are now only used in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. However, even this usage is now beginning to change in these regions.
In general, all schools across Mainland China and Singapore are using simplified characters exclusively, while schools in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan use traditional characters. However, many of Hong Kong's students are becoming fond of writing in Simplified Chinese characters, particularly in examinations, for the sake of the ‘quickness' of writing.
In Taiwan, the usage of Simplified Chinese characters is officially banned from all aspects of printed communications. However, the general use of this printed form is becoming steadily more common nowadays due to the growing political and economic influence of Mainland China on the other side of the Strait.
The influence of simplified characters on the Chinese language remains controversial decades after their introduction. These days, the use of Simplified Chinese is much widely used in Chinese societies, especially as China opens its market and the Chinese workers and business people have more chance working with mainland Chinese companies and government.
Today, when communicating with mainland companies the use of Simplified Chinese is a must. Virtually all mainland companies set-up their computers in Simplified Chinese and all of their websites are in Simplified Chinese.
It has become very important that all forms of communications including press releases, press information, brochures, websites, documentation and e-mails are in Simplified Chinese. Other wise, people will not know how read the information and their computers cannot even show the text on screen.
Another example is that before Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, all of the mobiles in Hong Kong had only Traditional Chinese and English input and display methods. After 1997, Hong Kong people had more and more contact with Mainland China so this situation gradually began to change.
These days if people need to send MSN and e-mail to their business partners they will use Simplified Chinese. Also, with text messaging to relatives and friends people will use Simplified Chinese with their mobiles. Today, virtually all mobiles, and PC's have Simplified Chinese input and display.