A Closer Look at the BRIC Countries: China

September 23, 2010

by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media, Business Wire New York

BRIC Country FlagsThis is the final installation of Business Wire’s series on the “BRIC countries“– Brazil, Russia, India and China, emerging economic powerhouses that are widely anticipated to drive global growth in the 21st century. The BRICS, an acronynm coined by former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill nine years ago, are responsible for almost half of the global growth since the financial crisis began in 2007, according to recent published reports.

The series thus far has examined Business Wire’s distribution capabilities in each dynamic market, focusing on its  exclusive partnerships that effectively reach the news media, portals, business-to-business sector, and the local investment community. China is certainly no exception in terms of Business Wire’s unique ability to penetrate challenging and complex international markets.

While most major economies are still struggling to regain their financial footing in the wake of the meltdown, China’s stupendous growth has continued largely unabated. It recently became the world’s second largest economy, fueling an international acquisitions program of historic propositions, primarily in the realm of natural resources.

China’s unbridled growth shows no signs of slowing down. Surging domestic demand (the country surpassed the United States as the world’s largest passenger car market), and a government-backed clean energy push provide strong momentum for sustained economic acceleration.

Business Wire’s distribution partner in this pivotal market is Interfax China, the country’s largest foreign news gathering organization.

Covering the length and breadth of China’s out-sized geography is no mean feat. Most foreign news organizations content themselves with a scalpel approach, slicing off bits of digestible information and feeding it to a general readership. Not Interfax China. In terms of sheer information gathering capabilities, no other foreign news outfit in China has the reach, access and market intelligence enjoyed by this respected international information agency’s over 30 experienced journalists and analysts, and a team of senior overseas editors operating out of bureaus in Beijing and Shanghai.

Interfax China is an agile and energetic information-gathering service, mobile enough to provide probative sector-specific daily and weekly reports from the western-most reaches of Xingjiang Autonomous Region to the sprawling megalopolis of Chongqing and the ministries of the nation’s capital. Founded in 2000, Interfax China has chronicled this amazing growth story, following the progress and missteps of emerging privately-held tech firms and state-owned energy Leviathans alike. And, in the process, the agency has gained an insider’s knowledge of Mainland China – knowledge it shares with the world.

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Business Wire International: You’re Opening an Office in China Now?

April 3, 2009

Today we continue our series of posts from colleagues outside the US with a look at our operations in China, from Kevin Chiew, Director, Asian Business Development. Previous entries in this series are available from London, Frankfurt and Paris.

This month marks my five year anniversary at Business Wire, and when I was offered the job to head up business development in Asia I was told two things. The first was that I would never be bored, and the second that was my job description was whatever I wanted it to be, as long as it improved the business. No truer words have been said to me, especially in 2009, as we embark on expanding our sales presence in China with our Business Wire licensed affiliate, Interfax China.

In the last five years Business Wire has pursued a multilevel approach to distribution in the Asia region, at the top using the networks of AP and AFP for region-wide distribution — just about every major media organisation in Asia subscribes to either one or both of these feeds. Then, on a country level, we’ve worked with country distribution partners to get country-by-country blanket coverage. Finally, our own NX technology and PressPass services have provided vertical market coverage. We have developed a distribution network that is second to none and which is continually evolving, improving and expanding.

We have been expanding our sales network in the region as well, with offices in Tokyo and Sydney, and sales channels in India (a licensed affiliate), Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea and now China (a licensed affiliate).

Business Wire appointed Interfax China as a licensed affiliate of Business Wire, and began operations this month. When we reviewed the China market, it quickly became evident that we needed a strong local partner, who understood the market and had operated there successfully. Interfax China has been operating in China since 1998, and they are the largest commercial foreign news service in China. They understand the local market and have good relationships both in the government and in the business community. Our relationship with Interfax China began two years ago, when they began to disseminate Business Wire press releases into the China market as part of their news service. Interfax China’s network disseminates to more than 9,000 journalists, 600 newspapers, 3,000 magazines and trade publications 300 websites, with guaranteed postings to more than 40 websites for every release.

With such an overwhelming presence, it became obvious that Business Wire and Interfax China would make a powerful force in China. Combining the local support of Interfax China with the global network of Business Wire, as a licensed affiliate, Interfax China would be able to offer the same services and support that any Business Wire office would be able to supply.

But I digress. The title of this piece is, “You’re Opening an Office in China NOW?”

Back in early 2008, when we began to study China, opening offices there was a slam dunk; any business selling anything could justify opening up in China. In 2009, it is a totally different story. The world economy is looking like a train wreck and companies are closing offices, not opening them. So why did we continue to open up in China, when so many others have backed away?

In a word: PERSPECTIVE, which the Oxford dictionary defines as “the understanding of the relative importance of things.”

Despite the world economic gloom you can read in any newspaper in the world at the moment, the fundamentals of doing business in China remain the same:

  • It is the third largest economy in the world, rapidly challenging Japan and even the USA in size.
  • Even the revised growth forecast of the World Bank predicts economic growth of 6.5% in 2009, which would be enviable in any other economy.
  • It has a population of 1.3 Billion people with a growing, educated middle class.
  • It has a strong domestic market, which will be supported by the government stimulus package of some $586 billion dollars.
  • It has foreign exchange reserves of $1.95 trillion, which is predicted to rise to $2.5 trillion by 2010, which means it has a strong buffer against economic down turns.

Although the USA subprime mortgage collapse may have helped lead to the global economic recession, the recovery may well be led by Chinese consumers and investors. The Asian Development Bank, OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and World Bank all predict economic growth to in China for 2010 of some 7.5% to 8.5%.

So as my grandfather, who lived through the last Great Depression and beyond, used to say, “It was a great time to make some money.” If your business wants to catch the next wave of the economic boom, now is the time to establish your business in China.

Business Wire is in for the long haul, as is its affiliate Interfax China. Our PERSPECTIVE is not the next 12 months, but the next 12 years and beyond. When our clients want help on their China strategy, we will be on the ground for them, as we will be on the ground for our China-based clients looking to expand into the rest of the world.

Business Wire is in China — why aren’t you?

Kevin Chiew

Director, Asia Business Development, Business Wire


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