It is not the West! Important Tips for Successful PR in China

Lior Varona, Co-Founder and CEO of Silkroad
Chinese citizens are known as large consumers of media. The social media platforms in China are high up on the scale in terms of daily usage and exposure to social media, with both digital and traditional media leading the rates that are larger than any other corresponding figures in western countries and the United States.

Xinhua (the equivalent of CNN) is the official news agency of the People's Republic of China and the most influential news channel in the country. Xinhua is also the largest news agency in the world. It operates in more than 170 foreign countries worldwide and owns more than 20 newspapers. These newspapers are published in many different languages including English, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, Japanese and Korean. Israeli companies have begun to receive exposure in these newspapers. One such example is Adam Singolda, the CEO of Taboola, whose interview received a high profile placement in the newspaper. Another example is Ripples Ltd.  which was featured in a prestigious video interview.

Another successful example is Utilight Ltd., a company  which develops printing technology for the PV metallization process of c-Si solar cells. Utilight was featured in a series of  articles in industry leading newspapers and publications such as, and SolarZoom. SolarZoom is a leading solar energy newspaper and in its article, also published a picture of the Israeli Minister of Energy on his visit to Utilight's offices.

Additionally, Arba Robotics, a company that develops 4D Imaging Radar for Autonomous Driving, has been featured in leading automotive magazines such as "Netease Auto Channel", with a dedicated audience of 28 million readers per day, and "Auto Home.Com", with an audience of more than 13 million readers per day.

Last June, the China Beauty Exhibition was held in Shanghai. Several Israeli leading cosmetics companies participated in the exhibition and received extensive media exposure in the Chinese press and in leading media channels such as "Bloomberg China", "China News.Com" (the second largest state-owned news agency in China, with an large number of readers per day), as well as in the prestigious fashion magazine "PC Lady".

The Chinese pay attention and associate value with positive quotes. By reading the various publications and seeing the positive coverage of these companies, they assume the company has already positioned itself well in the Chinese market, and that the company is an active player in China. A company that has received positive press coverage in Chinese publications increases the likelihood that they will be seen as an active player in the Chinese market.

Winning awards and competitions, increasing sales, engaging in cross border transactions that will be mentioned in the Chinese media will garner a well-regarded reputation in China.     

An Israeli company that is already active in China or beginning its first steps there, must take into account that it has to put focus on its media activity, in order to build a rich communications portfolio full of positive references. It should not ignore the influential power the Chinese social networks and social media have on commerce. In China, if you do not exist in the media, you have a very weak starting point.

As for the Chinese, it is important for them to know how much the company intends to invest in China and how it views the Chinese market and its potential. Thus, it is imperative to communicate an effective message in China and to the Chinese people. With a relatively small investment, a company can reach its target audience as well as potential investors and stakeholders. A company promoting itself to investors and stakeholders should highlight any media exposure it has garnered, especially in the Chinese media.

The Chinese market is approximately 1.4billion consumers. Half of whom have internet users while hundreds of millions of whom receive newspapers published by the Central Government. A company that ignores this reality and is not actively pursuing exposure in these media outlets is taking the risk of losing this immense market.    

The saying "If you are not there, you do not exist" is even truer in China. The Chinese talk to their friends about what they read in the newspaper, watched on television, or saw on social media. The Chinese also relay their experiences to each other and review the products of they have used. If you are not on these outlets, you will not be talked about and your product will not be used.

The Chinese government is actively supporting innovation. China is putting an emphasis on investing in and learning from foreign technology and foreign companies. This ideal is seen throughout the technology sector and can be seen in the open mindedness of the reporters of the sector and how they review tech companies.

It is important that we remember that media engagement and exposure is another important tool for a company's success. The media controls and manages how the company is perceived; it exposes the company's brand and its image. How the company is reviewed by the media, both digital and traditional, will enhance the reputation of the company.

Mr. Lior Varona is Co-Founder and CEO of Silk Road Group, a leading Chinese Israeli Public Relations agency, specializes in Public Relations in Asia. Representing Israeli and International companies.

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