Just when we thought all was lost, when we feared that you had all accidentally wandered down the straight and narrow, a photograph (shown below) plopped onto our desk and revived our faith in the general depravity and sleaziness of the industry. The shot was taken at the once-legendary Publishers Ball in Hong Kong (which was this year over-run by people behaving themselves, unfortunately), and arrived anonymously in an unmarked envelope. So, erstwhile Vine lovers, we need to employ your cunning and underhandedness - who are the two camera-shy blokes? And what were they all up to? Answers to the usual address.
Vine is pleased to announce the appointment of this year's Hunk and Babe(s) of the Year - and they are none other than our very own publishing director, Andy Bridge, and the contingent of comely chicks from CIA Medianetwork. The CIA chicks were an easy choice, given their sheer numbers and the fact that they are trained to handle heavy weaponry (did CIA regional boss Mark Austin really think this through properly before he sent them off on that shooting course?!). The hard part was choosing the Hunk of the Year, not because we were overwhelmed by choice; quite the opposite. In the end, we opted for Andy for the following reasons: 1) He's clearly a chick magnet (Mark, you might want to keep him away from your CIA babes); and 2) He's appeared more times in the picture pages of MEDIA magazine this year than anyone else, which is not bad when you consider he's only been in Hong Kong since June. Anyone who accuses Vine of kissing up to our new Haymarket bosses (for this is indeed where Andy springs from) is a cold-hearted cynic who obviously fails to appreciate the infinite charms of the man they call "Andy Bridge". On a less sucky note, Vine has also named Renren.com boss Richard Robinson as "Man Most Likely to Have Been Kidnapped by Aliens", although having thought about it, he could well be one.
Chinadotcom announced the appointment of Mr Zhou Shun Ao, previously chief China officer of Chinadotcom, to its board of directors. The company also announced the resignation of Mr David J. Moore, CEO of 24/7 Media, from the board of Chinadotcom. "We welcome Mr Zhou to the board and look forward to his valued contribution to the board," said Mr Raymond Ch'ien, chairman of the board of Chinadotcom. "We also wish to express our appreciation for the support that Mr. Moore has given to us in the past two years."
At the International Herald Tribune, Ms May Ling Nam has been promoted to director of marketing services, Asia-Pacific. Ms Nam joins the IHT from the Financial Times, where she spent 18 months as circulation marketing director. She will continue that role and take on a larger responsibility for circulation, brand development and corporate communications issues in Asia.
Poster Publicity has named Mr Vincent Gueny as regional manager, North Asia. He previously worked with DDB Needham in France and with Pearl & Dean International and JC Decaux in Singapore. He will operate from Poster Publicity's newly established Hong Kong office from the beginning of next year, and will focus on business development within the region.
Emphasis Custom Media (ECM) has appointed Mr Martin Sinclair as advertising sales manager, based in Hong Kong. His most recent position was as project manager with Max Play International. In his new role at Emphasis, Mr Sinclair will develop multi-media advertising packages for ECM's airline partners in print, video, interactive and concept media. Meanwhie, Ms Claire Wong has been appointed senior sales executive, based in Hong Kong, and Ms Maria Lee has been appointed senior sales executive, based in Singapore. Ms Wong has extensive media and sales expertise having worked at OneAsia.com, National Geographic Channel Asia, NBC Asia and TVB Pearl channel. Ms Lee previously worked at Far East Organisation, where she held the position of marketing executive.
Internet research company Icon Medialab Asia has announced the appointment of Mr Goran Malm as president and chief executive officer to lead the company's expansion in the Asia-Pacific market. Prior to joining Icon, Mr Malm was the president of Dell Computer Asia-Pacific, where he was responsible for Dell's operations and expansive distribution network in the region covering 48 countries. Prior to Dell he led, as president, General Electric Asia-Pacific and served as president and CEO of GE Medical Systems Asia. "From his various high level management positions in leading multinational corporations in the Asia-Pacific region, Mr Malm brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of Asia-Pacific business to Icon Medialab Asia," said Mr Johan Stael von Holstein, Icon Medialab Asia's former CEO and founder. "With the rapid development of infrastructures and tremendous growth in Internet access in Asia, we will be expanding our operations quickly to capture the tremendous opportunities offered in the Asian market."
Traditional recruiting agencies face the challenge of moving to "Internet speed" to keep up with online competitors if they are to survive, according to a report by the IDC. The Internet has significantly changed the Australian recruitment landscape and has quickly become an invaluable channel for employers and job seekers, the report said. It estimated that spending on online recruitment advertising in Australia last year totalled Adollars 14.7 million. That figure is expected to grow to Adollars 329.3 million in 2004. The figure included not only spending on Internet job listings, but also on banner, button and other types of ads such as corporate profiles and microsites that are purchased by recruiters to attract attention to their recruiting campaigns. IDC Australia's senior analyst Internet and ecommerce Lisa Shishido said to survive and thrive, traditional recruiting agencies would have to adopt technology that could make their business more efficient and be more "proactive about communicating their value proposition to clients". "The days of agencies that are simply resume-shufflers who view candidates as walking invoices are over," she said. "The opportunity lies in harnessing the power of Internet technology to make business more efficient. "The Internet's impact on the Australian recruitment market to date has been mainly on the initial stages on the recruiting process - posting vacancies and identifying and accessing candidates. "However, a handful of Web-based end-to-end solutions that attempt to manage the entire process have recently emerged." He added there was tremendous opportunity in offering business services related to online recruiting, and vendors that can offer a winning combination of content, tools and services to employers and job seekers would prevail. "For example, the large number of employment sites currently competing for a limited pool of advertising dollars means that most are finding it a challenge to make profits as they face the pressing question of when and how they will reach profitability," Ms Shishido said. "However, the opportunity lies in beating or outlasting competitors to become one of a small handful of sites that will eventually dominate the market, reaching critical mass in users and advertisers and branching out to create other revenue streams."
Despite not being fully appreciated in its own hometown of Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific is deemed a world-class airline by any standards. Its ultimate goal, however, is to be the world's most admired airline. The total campaign strategy devised by McCann-Erickson is based on the word "progressive". The communication strategy focuses on how progressive Cathay Pacific is in all its areas of operation - having the youngest fleet of aircraft, an award-winning lounge at Chek Lap Kok, innovative inflight entertainment, and so on. The logic was being progressive in everything it does would give passengers, other airlines, the media and Hong Kong people real reasons to admire Cathay Pacific. This strategy drove the media idea (progressive = innovation). The media challenge then became finding a way to achieve the necessary cut-through on a tight budget, when the traditional approach was to dominate on size. The decision was made to communicate in a relevant way how progressive Cathay Pacific is. Multiple executions, each with a specific product attribute, were created to communicate the overall strategy. The media strategy The overriding decision on specific media strategies and tactics was based on the need to connect with key constituencies in relevant dayparts, while they were in a relevant mindset. A number of Universal McCann proprietary tools were used to highlight intersecting moments between media consumption, consumer mindset and daypart. Multiple media vehicles were necessary to deliver the reach required to launch the campaign, but tonnage alone would not deliver the desired effect. Universal McCann therefore had to innovate to cut through the myriad of clutter in both the media it needed to use, and in the market in general. Media selected included television, print, transit media and outdoor. McCann also had to push the limits of very conservative media owners. The core to its negotiation was the desire to drive progressiveness and innovation in every phase of the campaign. At least one new media idea was the goal in each phase. In the period from launch in August to October 2000, Universal McCann claimed to have achieved a number of firsts in Hong Kong and Asian media: - First to place posters the full length of the MTR travellator, which is also the longest indoor ad in Hong Kong history; - First to place an advertisement (die-cut) across the middle of a front page of a daily newspaper; - First to use three vertical column strip ads on a single spread; - First to use four corner ads; - First to use border ads in the daily press; - First to use centre and top banners with die-cut ads; - First to use customised weather page ads in an English-language newspaper; - First to use New World Powerphones, an innovative/interactive phone. These 'firsts' were surrounded by traditional executions in media that provided the necessary weight to provide a solid communication platform. * This issue, the ongoing National Geographic Showcase series features material from one of the Certificate of Excellence winners in the Best Use of Media category in MEDIA's Agency of the Year Awards 2000.
Unilever has announced that it will consolidate responsibility for all US media planning and broadcast buying with MindShare. The decision follows a comprehensive review by Unilever of its US media spend, which totalled some USdollars 700 million in 1999, according to CMR. Under the new agreement, MindShare will also play a key facilitating role alongside the company's brand teams and creative advertising agencies for Unilever's new Communication Channel Planning process, which aims to establish the most effective combination of marketing vehicles for its leading brands. According to Mr Brad Simmons, vice-president of Unilever US Media, "Our goal was to make our significant investment in brand communications work harder. Consolidation will provide a seamless linkage as we move from broad marketing communications mix planning, through strategic media planning to tactical implementation." He added: "MindShare was selected for this assignment because they offered the best combination of strategic resources and buying capabilities." Prior to consolidation, Unilever's US media planning assignment was split between nine agencies. MindShare currently handles the majority of Unilever's brand planning assignments. Agency of record responsibility for national and local television buying was handled by Initiative Media. Unilever initially began a media review in November 1999, but elected to postpone the consolidation of media resource phase until this year in order to give the media agencies a chance to establish their new organisations in line with the pitch. - The stories in this section were sourced from MEDIA's sister publication in the UK, Campaign magazine.
Publicis has been picked by Coca-Cola to handle its pan-European branding assignments in a further move by the US soft drinks giant to make its marketing more responsive to local conditions. The Paris-based group saw off the other Coke roster networks, McCann-Erickson and Leo Burnett, as well as the fledgling UK agency Soul to win the task to develop the brand's "Enjoy" theme for European markets. It is the first time Coke has appointed a network to produce work on a regional basis. It is believed that the Publicis agency in London will take pole position in the development of the work, drawing on creative resources from other Publicis offices. Commercials will be offered to local managers for use either in addition to or instead of more locally produced work. They alone will decide whether or not they wish to run it. The appointment does not affect existing agency assignments. Publicis handles Coke business in some 40 countries, including the UK, where it produces creative work for the Coca-Cola and Diet Coke brands. Last year, the group was appointed to spearhead a crisis communications programme after tainted Coke cans were found in Belgium. The latest assignment is in line with the company's mandate to 'think local, act local' and with the declared intent of Mr Douglas Daft, Coke's worldwide president, to devolve marketing control out of the company's Atlanta headquarters and allow local managers greater autonomy. "Until now, 90 per cent of Coke's advertising in the UK has been driven and controlled from Atlanta," an industry source said. "Now they want to go local and get away from a situation in which Atlanta creates advertising solutions to be disseminated around the world." The contamination scandal in Belgium - and Coke's slow response to it - as well as a sluggish domestic market have all helped fuel the trend. The devolvement is not expected to lead to advertising on a country-by-country basis but campaigns which would run across countries with similar cultures.
OPINION: The same market forces affect all sectors of the industry, and clients all want one thing: the best - 'We stand or fall on delivering on our promises'
I have been prompted to write this article after reading, with great interest, the interview with Mr Cheng Sung Mao, chairman of Ideology, the Taipei-based "creator of ideology behind brand communications", which appeared in the November 10 issue of MEDIA. This is Mr Cheng's description of his company, but one I totally understand. I have been based in Taiwan for only six months, but could not fail to notice the bold and distinctive creative approach of Ideology. Mr Cheng and his senior colleagues are to be congratulated on this, and admired for their single-minded focus on what they believe in, rather than taking the easy and financially secure route he says was offered by many of the multinational agency groups. I was therefore astonished that someone with his talent and experience should make the remarks attributed to him regarding media specialists. He is quoted as saying he "cannot see a true media independent in Taiwan", and that "they (the media independents) were formed for the purpose of making profits, and the increase of their bargaining power". He goes on to say that media independents "are fighting for themselves, not for their clients - what they said was not what they actually did". I can't comment on what happened in the past - Carat has only been in Taiwan since the beginning of this year, but in one important respect, his remarks are factually incorrect. Carat, the world's leading media specialist is owned by Aegis, a company quoted on the London Stock Exchange and is totally independent of any advertising agency group. This should not be confused with what have been dubbed media 'dependents'. Companies like MindShare, for example, which is owned by WPP. Here in Taiwan, Carat has entered into a joint-venture partnership with United Communications. It is a separate company, operating independently of United, and was established because United's far-sighted management recognised some inescapable and crucial facts. Firstly, a statement of the obvious: media is changing. This has always been the case, but today the pace of that change has never been faster. This change has been driven by a number of factors, including both technological innovation, and increasing legislative liberalisation, the net result of which has been an 'explosion' of media choice for consumers. One's own experience verifies that this has brought significant change in the way we, as consumers, 'use' media. As media 'practitioners' whether agency or media specialist, we need to understand the effect of this change on the way consumers use media. In this changing media environment, it is also a fact in every market I know of, existing industry-funded research has not kept pace, and is no longer sufficiently reliable to use in the creation of effective media strategies - planning and buying. Experience suggests that bringing about the necessary change to this industry research is painfully slow, if not impossible, and it is therefore only the largest of the media specialist companies who have the resources, and have the will to commission their own research, and to develop the software packages to analyse and apply it. In this respect then, size does matter, but our objective is more effective communication, exactly the same as that of Mr Cheng and Ideology. What all this 'change' demands of course, is a significant increase in investment in an agency's media operation. But surely the crucial area is creative? Yes, of course it's crucial, but so is media. And given the right environment, I submit that media strategy, media planning and media buying can all be accurately described as 'creative', and that the ability to think creatively is not the sole prerogative of the creative department. I feel sure most people would agree that even the very best creative advertisement would have little or no effect if it appears in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Even more importantly, it wastes a client's money. With around 85 per cent of a client's budget ending up in the hands of media owners, it is perhaps not surprising that increasing numbers of enlightened clients are taking a much closer interest in how their budget is planned and bought. After all, for most clients, the advertising budget is one of the largest items in their balance sheet. Mr Cheng and his colleagues put their beliefs and ideals on the line by starting their own company. They believed there was another, better way, and their client list is testimony to their success. Yet, disappointingly, his alleged views on media specialists demonstrates precisely the same myopia that forced myself and a number of like-minded media people to leave our comfortable (well, fairly comfortable, at least!) corporate lives with multinational agencies, and put our beliefs and ideals on the line. The fact that in Europe more than 75 per cent of media budgets are now planned and bought by someone other than the clients' creative partner suggests we might just have a point. But it is most certainly true that it didn't happen overnight, and also that it was not accomplished without a good deal of pain. But this is not Europe, this is Asia, I hear you say. Asia is different; market conditions here are not like Europe. Yes, of course market conditions are different, but a number of fundamental issues are not. Fact - clients do not appoint a full-service agency on the basis of its media capability. Equally importantly, clients do not fire their full-service agency for media reasons. By definition, as a media specialist, all we do is media. We have to be better, (and I mean 'value', not just 'cheaper'). We cannot hide a second-rate media strategy behind a brilliant creative idea and high production values. I am certainly not suggesting this happens at Ideology, but most people who work in this business will know precisely what I mean. Media specialists are therefore totally accountable, so if we don't get it right, every time, we lose the business. It is the very existence of media specialists that allows a client the flexibility to appoint the very best creative partner, and the very best media partner - without compromise. When a client appoints a media specialist, they do so because they are convinced they will get better resource, better planning, better buying, better service, greater expertise and greater experience. What Carat offers its clients can be summarised in four words: increased return on investment (of their media budget). If I were a client of Ideology, Mr Cheng's views on media would be causing me some concern. Failure to make the necessary investment in his media operation must jeopardise effective brand communication - the very foundation of Ideology's positioning. As an observation, I would have to say clients in Taiwan have been slow to embrace the benefits offered by the presence of media specialists. But, clients will increasingly demand answers to some difficult questions about how their budget is planned and bought. To be average is no longer good enough, even if it ever was. In addition, and this is a crucial point, the very best media talent will continue to be attracted away from agencies to media specialists, drawn by the greater resource and media professionalism, and the opportunity to work with the best, to deliver the best. Carat works successfully with a number of the best creative agencies in many markets. We work closely with them to deliver the best solution to a client's brief. Of course, there are occasional differences of opinion with a creative supplier over what that best solution might be. But these are resolved between us in a professional way, based on what we jointly believe is in the best interests of the client, and not what is perhaps the easiest or most obvious solution. We will not, under any circumstances, ask the client to be the referee. It is my belief that the most productive relationships are those based on mutual respect and admiration. Similarly, in my experience, the best solutions are those developed where creative and media strategies are developed side-by-side, with neither dominating the other. Let me conclude by touching on the issues of size, or 'bargaining power' and profit. It seems to me that there have always been, and will always be, economies of scale whatever you are buying, and it mystifies me why this is perceived as a problem. We do not ever buy what suits us, but only what is determined by the right strategy for each individual client. With our client base, however, it would be surprising if that didn't make us one of the largest customers of most key media owners. I do not see this as something, which works against the best interests of any of our clients, or indeed those of the media owners. On the question of profit, of course we have targets to reach, as most companies do. But I suspect many clients and agency chief executives would be surprised at the scale of the investment in research and development Carat continues to make, and by the margins against which most media specialists have to generate their profits. We have to run our businesses extremely efficiently. But in my experience, the most enlightened clients want to see their creative and media partners properly remunerated for the 'value' of the services they provide. Services which at their best, can and do significantly affect a clients' bottom line. In Taiwan, just as in other markets, we will stand or fall on delivering the promise we make to our clients, namely an improved return on their media investment; something which personally I am delighted to say I still find an enormously stimulating challenge.
Worldwide advertising trends are showing a definite shift in focus, and much of this will have an impact on the future of the advertising and communications industry in Malaysia, said Association of Accredited Advertising Agents (4As) Malaysia president, Tony Lee. A key indicator, he said, was the change in how worldwide agency groups like WPP, Interpublic, B(com3 and Omnicomm were deriving their revenue. "Worldwide trends show that all communication disciplines - advertising, media planning, buying and research, public relations and public affairs, branding and identity, healthcare and specialist communications are growing, but with greater growth outside of advertising, so much so that advertising activities now account for only half of agencies' revenues." Agencies will therefore place more emphasis on revenue growth from non-core businesses, including moving to acquire strategically important, small-to-medium sized businesses that meet specialist skills training and development. In addition to the change in revenue streams, Mr Lee said that other patterns were also starting to emerge as the industry moved forward. As companies and networks grow in size, new technologies are enabling agencies to enjoy the benefits to both size and scale, with the responsiveness and energy of smaller firms. This would prevent networks from becoming sluggish, and allow them to respond quickly to opportunities in different markets. Geographically, North America, the United Kingdom and continental Europe are all enjoying double-digit growth. Growth in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East is much slower, largely due to economic problems. Worldwide, operating margins are up, from an average of 13-14 per cent previously, closer to 20 per cent now. Productivity and efficiency were also up, partly a result of investments in technology, partly as a response to increased pressure to deliver margins and increase shareholder value. Year 2000 started very well for most agency networks, and the year should see improvements in all business areas. Having studied these trends, the Malaysian 4As was predicting some definite changes to the local advertising and communications scene, said Mr Lee. First of these changes will be in service offerings, with agencies striving to increase the depth and breath of their expertise. Already, many of the international networks were offering the full range of communications consulting services in Malaysia, by acquiring small local specialist businesses, aligning with specialist agencies or investing in developing their own. Information and consultancy, public relations and public affairs, and specialist communications will grow rapidly, accounting for close to two-thirds of revenues. This bodes well for the industry, said Mr Lee, which needs to see some consolidation as the Malaysian economy moves into recovery. Smaller agencies that invest in better people, stronger alignments, better technology and global partnerships will continue to reap the benefits, while retaining their flexibility and individualism. Agencies will also increase investment in technology, much of which had seen a freeze during the past 18-24 months. While upgrading hardware would be important, the critical investment would be in IT skills, especially in the areas of digital, direct and interactive communications. Thirdly, while agencies will invest in development, they will also keep a closer eye on margins to meet the expected pressure from worldwide networks. This included putting a cap on spiralling costs, especially in payroll, which has seen significant leaps as agencies rushed to beef up human resource after severe cutbacks during the recession. "But all this will not be at the expense of creativity, which is still the major differentiator in the advertising and communications industry," said Mr Lee. "Clients will look for creativity not just in advertising, but across all communications. We therefore see a move towards companies developing and training talent, and perhaps recruiting from creative hotshops around the region to bring new blood to the market." He said this would lead to more performance-related remuneration, with agencies celebrating and rewarding talent and ideas across disciplines. "Agencies that continue to enjoy growth and profits will be the ones who take note of what is happening in our industry around the world, and who make changes that keep them in tandem with these trends," Mr Lee said. "Borderless trade is also reaching our business, and clients will choose to buy their services within one agency network, but not necessarily in one market. Connectivity, shared resources and creativity across borders will be the most efficient and effective ways for agencies to stay ahead of the pack."
Turner Broadcasting chairman Steve Marcopoto has won the 2000 MEDIA Open, pipping Morgan & Banks boss Russell Yeomans and Cedric Marginedes of Star TV by two strokes. The event, jointly sponsored by Morgan & Banks and Reader's Digest, attracted a record field of 75 golfers who revelled in the winter sunshine at the Discovery Bay Course in Hong Kong. It was a bittersweet day for Russell Yeomans. As co-sponsor, he was instrumental in organising one of the most successful MEDIA Golf days yet, and as a player he won the best net prize on the day with a round of 74. But a double bogey on the last hole robbed him of the chance for what would have been a dramatic playoff against Steve Marcopoto, and Russell had to settle for joint second place with Cedric Marginedes. The other sponsor, Peter Jeffery of Reader's Digest, was also in with a show but had to settle for joint third with five other golfers after a messy finish. The MEDIA Open has been an annual event since 1988 and was one of the few industry events which had never been won by Steve Marcopoto. Now, however, he can add the prestigious Golden Spitoon to his trophy cabinet.
The Pan Asia Cross Media (PAX) 2000 Survey by Asia Market Intelligence (AMI) showed Internet access at work increased from 58 per cent in 1999 to 65 per cent this year. The number of affluent adults with access to the Web was up by nine per cent this year, from 40 per cent in 1999. The growth in the computer hardware market was an indication of the increased interest in accessing the World Wide Web at home. Frequency of daily access to the Internet was at 52 per cent among business decision makers and 43 per cent for affluent adults. Twelve per cent of business decision makers and 10 per cent of affluent adult accessed the Web four to six times a week. When it came to buying online, 16 per cent of respondents who had access to the Internet at work said they had purchased online, compared with 14 per cent of home users. The findings were based on results from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
CNN is to expand its regional online business following a partnership between CNN Interactive and Korea's major newspaper JoongAng Ilbo to produce a Korean-language headline news service for CNN.com early next year. The service will be the first content in Korean to be offered by CNN and is to be available on a co-branded page. Users are to have immediate access through www.CNN.com and www.joins.com to Korean-language headlines and summaries of CNN's top news stories, covering the latest global news. According to Scot Woelfel, president and editor-in-chief of CNN interactive, the new service is part of CNN's initiative to localise content for the Asian market. JoongAng Ilbo media network is the largest and most influential media network comprising newspaper, magazines and books, Internet and cable TV in Korea. The CNN websites include eight non-English language sites that served 600 million page impressions per month this year.
Grey Global Group's partner companies MediaCom, Beyond Interactive and Grey Interactive have formed an agreement with Nielsen//NetRatings for research into global Internet users, marking the largest agreement formed between the researcher and a communications network. The research is expected to further the development of online advertising campaigns and ecommerce activity. According to Grey, the service is also the first to enable comparisons of target groups who share common characteristics across countries, for example, men aged 25 to 35 in Italy and France who research financial products online, or teenagers in China and Japan who buy the latest fashions online. Mr Adrian King, director of media research and strategic planning for MediaCom and Beyond Interactive in Hong Kong, said: "This research allows us to compare apples to apples rather than apples to oranges as was previously the case. For the first time, we have the ability to evaluate the true target audience of the new global community, audiences that are not limited by physical or political borders. This is a huge asset in planning digital media and a huge competitive advantage for our clients." The research is to be available on a cost-sharing basis between the Grey Global Group companies, including Grey Direct, Grey Healthcare, GCI and APCO. MediaCom CEO Alec Gerster said, "The fact that the deal was done in Hong Kong and will be run out of that market illustrates the agility of our global network in identifying and providing the best planning tools for our client."
This last issue of MEDIA magazine 2000 concludes CNN.com's Internet Q&A column. A special thank you to all those who wrote in with questions and comments. For regionally focused insight into the Digital Economy and its effects on the way Asians work, consume and communicate, click to http://www.cnn.com/ASIANOW/ebizasia or watch CNN's weekly ebizasia TV show, hosted by Lian Pek. Check your local guide for airtimes.
US-based etail giant Amazon.com has launched a Japanese site - its fourth international effort following sites in France, Germany and the UK. The launch, which comes several months ahead of schedule, was rolled out early in time for the holidays. The company said it hoped launching the site early would pay off as the Gartner Group recently predicted that Japanese consumers would spend USdollars 1.3 billion online during the season. Amazon hopes to take USdollars 1 billion in total sales this holiday season. The move comes as other US companies are also looking to target Japanese online shoppers. Anderson Consulting had earlier said ecommerce in Japan grew at a rate of 400 per cent from 1998 to 1999, leading US etailers to anticipate the type of hype which marked America's early days of ecommerce. The site is to be backed by an office in Tokyo. The company is expected to face competition from Japan's convenience store 7-Eleven Japan, which also launched an online bookstore. Amazon is offering free delivery for the rest of the year as a special promotion. It is unclear how Amazon will work through Japanese publishing regulations to offer discounts on Japanese language books on its site. The company is expected to continue to discount English-language books on its site by up to 30 per cent. Separately, Commercial Press Cyberbooks (CPC) is seeking a licence in mainland China to tap its lucrative Internet bookstore market. Through promotions in Hong Kong and other overseas markets, the website CP1897.com had seen a surge in sales over the past six months. CPC is a joint venture between Sunevision Holdings and Commercial Press. The site offers more than 200,000 Chinese-language titles and 50,000 English-language titles.
Internet advertising network and online advertising solutions specialist DoubleClick Media has signed on 20 leading Chinese websites to its network of over 300 websites in Asia, since coming into the mainland Internet market in August this year. DoubleClick Media, which has opened offices in Beijing, Shanghai and will be opening an office in Guangzhou shortly, has over the past three months signed on mainland websites, including alibaba.com, ladynow.com, MTV-Asia.com and 21cn.com. Advertisers on the network include Dell, Cisco and DeBeers. "China has a vibrant and rapidly developing Internet community and we see great opportunities for DoubleClick Media to grow with this market," said Mr Kelvin Cheng, country manager of DoubleClick Media in China. Mr Cheng said that traditional advertisers were becoming increasingly interested in online advertising campaigns and believed that the online advertising market would grow to USdollars 40 million by 2001. Source: CMM Intelligence.