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China is one of the largest markets for advertising the world over: JWT’s Tom Doctoroff

09-April-2010
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China is one of the largest markets for advertising the world over: JWT’s Tom Doctoroff

Much has been said and written about India and China being markets of great importance for global brands and advertising networks, both in terms of size and scope. While we very well understand the opportunities and challenges of the Indian market, understanding the Chinese market and adopting learnings from that market in the Indian context is the key for most Indian ad honchos.

Day 1 of GoaFest 2010 kicked off with the Industry Leadership Conclave, which saw Tom Doctoroff, CEO, JWT China and author of the bestseller ‘Billions’ deliver the keynote address. Doctoroff took the audience through the various facets of China – the consumers, consumer insights, market analysis, and why China is a big opportunity market for international brands. The theme of his keynote address was ‘Shadow and Light’.

“China is a market which has tremendous growth potential. I see it as one of the largest markets for advertising the world over,” Doctoroff said.

He further explained that China was a relatively new market, and that the key driver of growth was the domestic markets in that country. “The market is moving towards the tiered cities that has a huge population. Primarily a low price market, the Chinese market – the third largest advertising market in the world estimated at $30-35 billion, is moving from being a chaos market to a mature and a systematic one.”

Doctoroff also mentioned that the Chinese market, being primarily a mass media market, television was popularly used as a medium for advertising, while digital constituted about 12 per cent of the spends.

He recalled that in 2002, the market had generated 45 per cent of the revenues from local brands, and moreover, 20 per cent of these local brands were aspiring to become international brands.

“Mobile penetration in China is huge. There are about 500 models of mobile phones in the market, and there is a huge explosion of brands,” he noted.

Throwing some light on the Chinese consumers, Doctoroff said that it was important for marketers to understand that the consumers were highly ambitious in nature. He further said that the Chinese economy as a whole was ambitious too. “Brands are a tool of advancements in China and advertisers have been exploring that in a big way,” he said.

On the challenges facing the Chinese market, Doctoroff said that the main roadblock was that the market was highly commoditised, and that it was a state-controlled economy. Highlighting some of the structural challenges, Doctoroff said that the market believed more in short term sales in comparison with other international markets. All in all, China was an opportunity market, wherein growth would come from the domestic markets, affirmed Doctoroff.

He ended his presentation by showcasing several case studies of Chinese brands that did well in terms of winning a place in the consumer’s heart.

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