In researching this report we discovered something curious. In previous years, the emphasis has been on the nuts and bolts of innovation: inventing and developing new products and technologies to bring China up to speed with the West. But now there is a general feeling that consumers, not technology, were now driving innovation. Industry leaders we spoke to were far more interested in using technology to build connections with consumers than the advancement in the technology itself.
Warnings over China’s economic slowdown — or its slowing rate of growth — in recent months have been hard to ignore. Industrial outputs, stock-market crashes, the renminbi’s devaluation and faltering export figures all paint a dreary picture of an economy about to hit the doldrums. Yet speak to a marketer or retailer in the country and the response, in general, is surprisingly cheery.
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They see the challenging economic situation as a driver for a long-awaited change: forcing brands to take a more strategic and experimental approach to marketing and advertising. As many contacts tell us, this is an essential stage in the maturing and ‘normalising’ of the Chinese economy.
The overview feature explores how the industry is rising to this challenge in more detail. Other pieces tackle China’s unique approach to data, programmatic and the Internet of Things. Further content will be going live throughout this month.
Will Clem is managing editor of Campaign Asia-Pacific