Beijing, one of the largest cities in the world’s most populated country, is waiting for wind. Pollution levels have risen beyond the scale that measures the fine dust particles in the atmosphere. No wind for several days, allowed smog to accumulate and cover the city in a grey haze, and prompted the government to advise its people to stay at home last weekend.
Air thickened with pollutants is a perilous side-effect of a booming economy, but China’s society is experiencing unprecedented growth and according to Kitty Lun “there’s a feeling of euphoria among the people.” She is a prominent member of China’s new creative industry, as CEO and chairman at the advertising agency LOWE. The company’s slogan is “populist creativity” and has offices in Hong and Taiwan. Kitty Lun is based in Kong Kong since 2001, and in order to understand the dynamics of this, in many ways, booming country “you really have to be there and immerse yourself” she says. She is known as an influential person in China’s creative media landscape, with the official title of “mother of public service advertising” and as the author of “Advertising with No Lipstick”.
At DLD13 she is part of a panel discussion on how social media is changing China and Asia. Kitty Lun will present her observations regarding the significance of an astounding 19.1 Billion online transactions. China’s largest e-commerce site TMall, broke its record sales on November 11th the so-called “Singles Day” in China. On this day alone TMall registered 19.1 Billion purchases. With China’s domestic consumption rising, e-commerce is taking off as well. The China 2.0 initiative at Stanford University found that China’s online market place comprises 1 billion mobile subscribers, over half a billion internet users, and a high rate of smartphone adoption. China’s internet is now so pervasive that in sectors from communication and commerce to media and entertainment, it is a key driver of investment and innovation. While state-owned players dominated China's offline world, entrepreneurs are in the driving seat online.
Entering this expanding and relatively new market is a goal for many companies and e-commerce ventures. According to Kitty Lun the aspect of trust is crucial for succeeding in the highly competitive Chinese market. “Everyone is trying to capture people’s attention, their heart and mind. In order to tap into this growing market it will be interesting to understand the shoppers.” Building a brand rather than just a company, is important and the real challenge to her, also because “there’s a lot of effective work in China” she says “but I wish it was already more creative.”
A more creative approach is at the heart of Kevin Lee ’s work for China Youthology – a market research agency which specializes in finding out what moves China’s youth. Kevin is COO at the consultancy which says it “understands Chinese youth as human beings rather than merely consumers”. One dream China’s youth of today has grown up with, he says, is the “thirty year promise of a ‘decent life’”, which is constructed by the dominant ideology and culture. “But what we now see is young people with incomes that don’t match market prices and expectations are disappointed”. Social shifts like these are likely to affect economic prospects for investors too, and the China focused panel at #dld13 wants to lift some of the haze surrounding the rising economy of the east.