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China is the 2nd largest economy on the planet, yet it's the most difficult to enter and manage well for foreign brands.

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Podcast Episode's:
Shanshan Tang | Alibaba as a "Digital Economy", Tmall vs. Tmall Global, and Alibaba's Leveraging of AI
In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with Shanshan Tang, Global Business Lead, Canada, at Alibaba. This was a fantastic opportunity to talk to someone from the largest eCommerce companies in the world that operates outside of China. We spoke about Tmall and Tmall Global, both the international shoppers and local Chinese, and some noticeable trends that have been shaped by COVID-19. We also talked about how and why COVID-19 changed purchasing habits and drove offline employees online as live streaming agents for brands instead of in-store clerks. We talked about what solutions Alibaba offers new brands on its platform given the changing environment, and what the future looks like for the ecosystem. We spoke about tactics for driving brand growth, how to build a brand’s personality into their 360-degree marketing plans, and described what ‘hero products’ are. We then discussed what product categories are moving fastest up the scale on both sides of the ocean in consumer demand. And we did it all in almost 20 minutes. Enjoy!
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Barbara Finamore | Energy, Pollution, & Why China's Electric Vehicle Industry Might Just Save Our Planet
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Barbara Finamore, author of “Will China Save the Planet?” and Founder and Senior Strategic Director, Asia, at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Obviously this show was all about pollution in China but that’s where the obvious stops. We do take a walk down memory lane of how China got to where they are today, but we also discuss China massive investments in cleantech, wind power, solar power, and electric vehicles as well, all huge investments that dwarf the rest of the world, innovations that the rest of the world will likely and gladly adopt en mass as soon as possible. I ask Barbara’s opinion on local concern levels around pollution in China and whether those concerns change as we go up the demographic scale, and we talk about whether Chinese local citizens conflate or are able to separate conditions like smog from fog. We also discuss how informed and motivated the general populace is around hot topics such as pollution and climate change. Barbara has been squarely positioned at the center of the energy sector in China for 30 years and was a fascinating interviewee on these topics and more, most of which are front and center amongst foreigners when thinking about China. Enjoy!
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XinYi Lim, Senior Director of Corporate Development @ Pinduoduo | Interactive eCommerce, Observable Trends in Consumer Behaviour, & Pinduoduo's Long Term Growth Strategy
In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with XinYi Lim, Senior Director of Corporate Development at Pinduoduo. She is responsible for Pinduoduo’s international corporate strategy efforts. As most of you know the growth story of Pinduoduo has been described as “miraculous.” It’s the fastest-growing e-commerce scale-up in China, cracking the RMB one trillion (about $141 billion) in transactions milestone in less than half the time it took Alibaba and JD. That, alongside a few other numbers, tells the story of an irresistible force shaking up China’s e-commerce landscape. If you took that story to the bank and picked up PDD shares at IPO, you’d be up 150% right now. Needless to say, this was all a story we were very excited to dig into. We talk to XinYi about interactive eCommerce and PDD’s backstory and differentiating factors and discuss observable trends in consumer behaviour. We also talk about which of those shifting behavioural-trends will be temporary or permanent and why. We also discuss Pinduoduo’s long-term growth strategy in the coming months and into next year, and their plans for international expansion. Enjoy!
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TR Harrington | Exiting in China as a Foreigner, Social Media for Customer Service, & Investing in SE Asia
In this episode of The Negotiation I take the chance to catch up with an old and dear friend of mine, TR Harrington. TR is currently the CO-Program Director at MOX the Mobile Only Accelerator, an SOSV-backed accelerator based in Taipei, Taiwan. TR is one of very few foreign entrepreneurs to both build and sell a company inside China. His company was Darwin Marketing and he spent 13 years building it and we discuss the ups and downs and learning from that journey. We also talk about his work helping brands think through their customer experience, and the shift from key opinion leaders to key opinion customers, and the importance for brands to prioritize improvements as a strategy. We then chat about what MOX is and does, and why they and SOSV, in general, are so active and enthusiastic about the SE Asian region as a great place to look for growth both for brands and for startups. We end with an interesting look at whether Yahoo really lost or not when they went to Asia. Enjoy.
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James Lalonde | Innovation in Japan vs China, The Future of Work in China, & The One Belt One Road Perspective
In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with James Lalonde, Co-Founder of Yodo1, yoli and RTM Asia. We start out discussing innovation in Japan, where James began his software career, vs innovation in China. As a 3-time founder in China, we then talk about why starting a business in China as a foreigner is not as uniquely complex as one might think. We also talk about how James’ company Yodo1 became one of the top 5 mobile game publishers in China, then moving into a discussion on how the startup ecosystems that exist in China can vary greatly city to city. We then chat about James’ thoughts on the Future of Work and how well he believes post-secondary education in China sets up graduates to be successful in the work-force - spoiler alert he doesn’t. We then discuss the One Belt One Road initiative, something James’ is a bit of an expert and thought leader on. Enjoy!
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Justin Mallen | Handling Data Servers for the Largest Shopping Day in the World, How 5G Will Change the Internet, and Huawei's Future
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Justin Mallen, Founder, and CEO of Silk Road Telecommunication, a data services company based in Hangzhou. Justin has been in China since the ’90s and founded his company in the year 2000, foreseeing the immediate need for data service centers to play a pivotal role in China’s emerging internet roll-out. We talk about what it means to process immense amounts of data for high-traffic days like 6.18 or 11.11, and how China grew from no internet users to triple that of the US at nearly 900 million today. We talk about the state of China’s mobile internet and which of the big three are dominating and why, including a quick lesson on something called “peering” that is widely used in North America but still not adopted by the Chinese carriers. We also talk about 5G - what it is, what it means for infrastructure, and the future technologies it brings significantly closer to becoming a reality. Lastly, we talk about Huawei and how that company is doing amidst tremendous pushback from the Trump Administration on security concerns on one side, and the impact of COVID-19 on the other that has decelerated the roll-out of 5G, something that most expected to catapult Huawei to the top rungs of the market. Enjoy!
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Andrea Fenn | How the New Rich Changed Luxury Fashion Marketing and the Phenomenon of Live Streaming for Commerce
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Andrea Fenn, Founder & CEO of Fireworks, a digital company based out of Shanghai. We talk to Andrea about his early experiences as a journalist researcher with CNN and how the fashion industry has changed over the last decade. We also talk about his company Fireworks and why he refers to it as a “post-digital” agency, and how client requests have evolved since 2011 when his journey began. We then turn our focus to live streaming, an incredible phenomenon akin to QVC or a late-night tv shopping channel, except the extent of production is usually an iPhone on a tripod. We ask Andreas to make sense of it for us, talk about whether the Chinese consumer market could potentially grow tired of it soon and treat it as a fad, and is it something that he is recommending to his current clientele. Lastly, we discuss whether live streaming is a viable option for new brand entrants into the Chinese e-commerce ecosystem. Enjoy!
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Mark Greeven | China's 4 Types of Innovators & Building Resiliency Through Organizational Structure
In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with an old friend of Todd's, Mark Greeven. Mark is a Chinese-speaking Dutch Professor of Innovation and Strategy at the Institute of Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, however, Mark has a long and storied career in China the predates his recent move to Europe. He is also the author of 2 books both published by MIT Sloan, the first in 2017 Business Ecosystems in China: Alibaba and Competing Baidu, Tencent, Xiaomi and LeEco, and his second published in 2019, Pioneers, Hidden Campions, Changemakers, and Underdogs: Lesson from China’s Innovators, as well as several very good articles that I also recommend you go find and read. Needless to say, we spend a good amount of time asking Mark about his books and explaining what he means using terms like hidden champions as a class of innovators, or what he means by swarm innovation and rapid centralized decision making when referring to the 6 typical was Chinese entrepreneurs innovate. We close out the conversation discussing a famous Chinese manufacturing giant who has set the bar for surviving the pandemic, economically speaking, deep-diving into how the structure of their organization has allowed them to set the high watermark for enterprise resiliency during these difficult times due to COVID-19. Enjoy!
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Michael Zakkour Part 2 | Amazon Laid Bare, How Integrated Systems Helped Chinese eCommerce Rebound, and Thriving by Focusing on the Three "C's"
In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with our good friend and past guest, Michael Zakkour. Michael is not only a best selling author on Amazon with China’s Super Consumers and his latest release, New Retail: Born in China Going Global, he is also the Founder of 5 New Digital. For our second recording with Michael, we focused quite a bit on the impact of COVID-19 as this really is the most important topic on all minds including corporate and the brands they own and manage. We talk about which retailers are doing well vs those that aren’t, and what key strategies are making the biggest difference, bearing in mind that “doing well” has taken on a more subdued metric. We also look specifically at Chinese brands for some answers on both accounts as a country whose economy has come back online recently and some data points there are starting to come in. We talk about changes in consumer trends that we can already see taking place and some predictions on more to come. We end with a look back to the last pandemic of this magnitude, the Spanish Flu, and track the outcomes on consumers then, through until today, trying to make sense of what we’re going through, especially as a business owner would, and the opportunities for entrepreneurs who might be buoyed by some strong tailwinds of opportunity. Enjoy!
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Bay McLaughlin | Exploring the World of IoT, Innovation Outside the G8, & Juxtaposing Eastern European and Asian Entrepreneurs With North American
In this episode of The Negotiation, we chat with Bay McLaughlin, CoFounder, CEO and Board Member at Brinc.io, an IoT venture capital fund, and accelerator program that operates in developing countries. We discuss why Brinc chooses to operate outside the G8 intentionally, and how investors they approach to invest in Brinc typically respond to this thesis. We discuss fundraising pros and cons for IoT startups and where the use of funds typically go vs the more traditional SaaS or App startups. We also discuss the archetype of a successful IoT entrepreneur and juxtapose the Eastern European or APAC region founders against their North American counterparts. We also discuss the effect COVID-19 has had on their industry, and some really cool IOT tech we can look forward to landing into our lives in the next few years. Enjoy!
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Dr. Julie Klinger | Rare Earth Metals - Not Rare, In Everything From Magnets To Missiles, & China Dominates The Industry
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Dr. Julie Klinger, Professor of Geography and Spatial Sciences at the University of Delaware where she’s also a part of the Faculty of Minerals, Materials, and Society. This episode is all about the industry of rare earth metals or rare earth elements, an industry that China dominates and every piece of technology rely on, from magnets to rockets. We talk about how the industry has evolved over the last 30 years, the fact that they aren’t actually rare at all, and why, if every country has them in some abundance, we don’t all mine our own. We also uncover a fascinating narrative in that the world of rare earth elements and metals is catalyzing a change to the decades-old governing rationale behind global supply chains, where the cheapest labor and least amount of environmental regulation always wins. This is a really interesting and unique episode about an industry that impacts our lives daily that nobody knows about, that China currently dominates a producer, and why they would actually like to give that #1 spot up. Enjoy!
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Rick Watson | Amazon vs. Alibaba, Including Seller & Buyer Experiences and Influencer Impact
In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with Rick Watson, CEO, and Founder of RMW Commerce Consulting, a strategic commerce consulting company based in NY. We kick things off talking about the difference between Alibaba and TMall, a difference Rick refers to as eyes open vs eyes closed, a reference you’ll soon understand. We talk at length about the differences between Amazon and the Chinese platforms, getting into how Amazon could learn a thing or two from Alibaba or JD in improving its product selection and whether or not Alibaba or JD would ever start their own white-label brands of products similar to Amazon Basics. We talk about how different sectors work well or not in the different markets like apparel, luxury or cosmetics, and we discuss some of the other up-and-coming platforms that are making their marks in the Western world of eCommerce. We also dive into the future of eCommerce, discussing the potential or lack thereof for the Asian platforms to band together or stay independent, and whether social commerce will ever take hold in America as it has in APAC. Enjoy!
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Joshua Eisenman | China's Asymmetric Global Advantage and Defining "Relational Power"
In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with Joshua Eisenman, Associate Professor at the Keough School of Global Affairs @ the University of Notre Dame and Senior Fellow for China Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington DC. This show takes us deep into the relationship China has with both the developed world and the developing world. We look at the current state of affairs and try to explain the path it has taken over the last 40 years. I ask Joshua whether the PRC treats different areas of the developing world differently, and how the one belt one road initiative fits in with their global strategy. Joshua also talks about why we shouldn’t see China stretching their reach as necessarily worrisome to other countries or politicians and why. We end the discussion discussing what global organizations can learn from China’s efforts in bridging the divide between the developing and developed worlds. Enjoy.
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Ashley Dudarenok | How COVID-19 Has Changed The China eCommerce Landscape
In this episode of The Negotiation we speak with Ashley Galina Dudarenok, also knows as “The China Watcher”. Ashley is the founder of Chozan, a “Harvard Business School for China”, and Alarice, a digital marketing agency focused on China, and she is also a 3x best selling author and successful vlogger on YouTube. On today’s show, we focus quite a bit on the impact of COVID-19. We talk about some of the biggest shifts she’s seeing from a brand positioning point of view, as well as some of the biggest shifts she’s seeing from a consumer purchasing point of view. We talk about how brands hove to adjust their relationship-building strategies with their consumers, and the lessons learned from Chinese companies that have been successful so far as China is one of the first economies to start their engines post-pandemic. We also dig into what product verticals will recover quickly against a bleak backdrop for most, and what unique opportunities there might be for foreign brands given most global economies are only going to get worse before they get better. Enjoy!
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Sarah Weyman | The Impact of COVID-19 & Adjusting To The New Marketing Normal In China
In this episode of The Negotiation we speak with Sarah Weyman, Chief Growth Officer at Dentsu Aegis Network China. We talk about how brands have been able to be successful coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic by reacting swiftly and acting empathetically. I ask Sarah how marketers are responding to the epidemic, the impact it’s had on their 2020 business plans, and how they are re-aligning in response to such an unprecedented situation. We also looked at how logistics and supply chain challenges are impacting marketers right now and in what verticals, as well as the resilience being shown by both marketers and consumers. We talk about the impact on mainstream brand equity, tracking across awareness, quality and reputation metrics, that the coronavirus has had. We also discuss the regulatory and policy landscape around marketing in China especially with regards to the Coronavirus and maintaining integrity so that products and services designed to help counter the pandemic are allowed to be front and center. Enjoy.
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Ben Robinson | The Japanese Market - Shopify Success, Building Brand Loyalty & Consumer Trends
Today on The Negotiation we are speaking with Ben Robinson, Merchant Success Manager at Shopify Plus mostly covering the Japan and Singapore region. We talk about how to successfully localize a product to be successful selling into the Japanese market, noting how they are really rather price-insensitive and how Japan is one of the most insular and protected markets globally. We also talk about how long it might take, and the strategies brands can deploy, in order to build trust which is difficult to obtain as Japanese consumers typically live in the camp that foreign brands don’t build products with the Japanese in mind. We discuss the different social media in Japan and some consumer trends that have emerged in the last few years that are unique to Japan that brands should know about as well as their appetite for some of the trending techs coming out of the west like cryptocurrency and cleantech. We talk about how to be successful on the Shopify platform in Japan and the importance of getting delivery right including not just when but also what time.
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Ann Lee | Myths & Misconceptions About China, Wall Street to Best Selling Author X2, & The Impact of COVID-19
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Ann Lee, author of What the US Can Learn From China and Will China’s Economy Collapse. We talk about her background with China, why she left Wall Street, and how predicting the economic crash of 2008 garnered her the respect of Chinese policymakers and US Academia alike. We talk about her book What the US can learn from China and why it was so popular in China as well as dozens of other nations around the world. We also talk about a few myths and misconceptions involving China, including tech transfer policies that have been widely misconstrued for several years now, a conversation that should hopefully alleviate concerns for foreign brands going into China. We talk about whether companies need to be extra careful doing business in China and segway into discussing her second book, Will China’s Economy Collapse, including why she wrote the book and how the obviously bombastic title came to be. Lastly but perhaps most importantly, we discuss the coronavirus and the potential impact it will have on business not just in China but globally, as this is a difficult time that will, in one way or another, affect us all. Enjoy!
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Marian Danko | Weathering The VC Winter, Why China Will Win The AI Race, & Second Tier Cities To Watch
In this episode of The Negotiation, we chat with Marian Danko, Founder at weHustle and TECOM. Marian is originally from Ukraine, and we talk about startup community reverse culture shock, given the speed of the ecosystem in China when visiting startup communities outside China. We talk about the investment landscape in China, especially for foreign startups trying to raise money from Chinese VCs. We talk about how the success of startups in China over the last 5 years has drastically changed the impression of the career choice of becoming an entrepreneur. We also discuss the “investment winter” that arrived in China and the reasons behind the drop-off in the number of investment dollars being deployed. We also talk about the state of the VR/AR industry in China, and why we should expect China to emerge as a leader in artificial intelligence technologies and applications. We also discuss some of the second and third-tier cities whose startup ecosystems are doing very well, like Chengdu and Hainan, and the levers that are making them so successful. Enjoy!
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Scott Laprise | Communism, Guanxi, Innovation vs Adaptation, & Trying to Financially Analyze China
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Scott Laprise, Founder and Senior Analyst at Research From Beijing, a boutique sell-side research firm helping investors understand China. We talk about the importance of understanding the language and it’s nuances to really being able to understand how they truly operate, both culturally and in business. We talk about what Communism is, in 2020, and in Scott’s opinion how it is actually an “Emperorship with massive Capitalistic influences.” We talk about the importance of Guanxi and how it can affect brand loyalty and customer retention. We talk about the actual rate of consumerism, tying in a discussion of environmental impact and is our western impression of their impact accurate, precise or neither. We discuss whether China is truly innovative in Scott’s opinion, or whether they are simply masters of adaptation. Scott has a very interesting take on the US / China trade war and the impact it will have and on whom. We talk about why being a financial analyst in China is an incredibly complicated and nuanced art. We talk about the One Belt One Road initiative and why the Western media is misunderstanding China’s intentions of investing in building so much infrastructure in foreign countries. We cover a lot of ground so buckle up and enjoy!
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Olivia Plotnick | All About WeChat - Mini-Programs, The Power of WOW, & Building Awareness vs. Building Relationships
In this episode of The Negotiation and today, we talk with Olivia Plotnick, a WeChat & China Marketing Specialist and Vice President at the International Professional Women’s Society, based in Shanghai. We talk about growing a WeChat account with zero budget & explain how brands should be looking at WeChat in 2020 in regards to not only its purpose but also how to measure success using it as a marketing tool. We also discuss the Top Stories feature in WeChat and what it means to WOW content and the visibility you are inherently agreeing to give brands who own the content when you do (hint this is an ‘owned traffic’ hack). Olivia also gives us a couple of examples of brands using WeChat well, like Nike, Armani, and Starbucks, and discusses the different approaches and techniques they are using. Enjoy!
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Kevin Johannes Wörner | Helping Chinese Corporates Innovate, Mobile-First Mobile-Only Differences For B2C & B2B, and the Future of AI and Big Data Analytics
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Kevin Worner, Head of Startup Acceleration @ Xnode in Shanghai. Kevin talks to us about the 3 business units of Xnode: corporate innovation training, startup acceleration and coworking. We talk about the difference between foreign and local Chinese startups and how impressed Kevin is with the ability of Chinese startups to adapt to market feedback so quickly, as well as how foreign startups can accelerate their growth to keep pace with the speed of China. We also talk about whether there is an opportunity to create space for startup tourism in China where startups can go to China not to enter the market purse but to develop a fast growth engine behind their product. Lastly, we talk about AI in China, both how the country is racing out in front due to the sheer amount and access to data they have to work with, as well as how startups can leverage the AI ecosystem in China to create leverage.
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Cyril Ebersweiler | eCommerce Pre iPhone, Building the Worlds's #1 Hardware Accelerator, & The Next Big Thing
In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with a very good friend of mine, Cyril Ebersweiler, General Partner @ SOSV The Accelerator VC, who is best described as a visionary punk. We begin our conversation talking about how he ended up in China, first as an intern with Carrefour later becoming their first eCommerce Project Manager all the way back in 2002, predating the first iPhone by 5 years just to put that in perspective for you. Fast forward to 2009 which is when we first met in the North-East of China in a coastal city called Dalian. This is also where he met Sean O’Sullivan the now Managing Director of SOSV which back then was more of a super-angel fund or family office fund, whichever you prefer. I ask Cyril to tell about why the two of them decided to start investing in early-stage tech in China and what that conversation was like when even Silicon Valley was in it’s adolescence. We talk about spinning up accelerators in China as an investment model and why Shenzhen was the best place in the world to launch a hardware accelerator, due in large part to the ’shanzai’ movement which we explain in the show., and we talk about the impact crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter have had on the world of hardware startups, ending with a prediction of where the next biggest company will come from.
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Jacob Cooke | Special Edition Coronavirus Update
In this special and abbreviated episode of The Negotiation, we wanted to acknowledge the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in China. We first want to take a moment to send our thoughts and prayers to all who've been affected, including our own colleagues, friends and families in China, as well as any of our listeners who may be impacted or affected. At this time we also wanted to give some high-level thoughts on the business and economic impact the outbreak is having, so we brought in Jacob Cooke, CEO of WPIC Marketing + Technologies, to discuss a bit about what the data is showing and give some advice to companies on what they can be doing now and how they can prepare for what is hopefully a near-at-hand end to this tragedy.
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Sarah Kutulakos | The Rise of the Middle Class and How eCommerce Has Changed Corporate Infrastructures
In this episode of The Negotiation, we had an amazing conversation with Sarah Kutulakos, COO & Executive Director at the Canada China Business Council, Canada’s premier bi-lateral business council. After studying Chinese since the mid-80s she first headed out to Taipei, Taiwan in the early 90s before joining Kodak at a time when marketing was first coming to China. We discuss the vast changes she’s seen on both sides of the ocean over those years and how the level of sophistication in how each country deals with each other has grown. We discuss the role of women in business in China, a role that will likely surprise many, and how the novelty of being a foreign company is now gone. We also talk about the One Belt One Road policy and how foreign companies can and should work to understand the massive changes this will bring to well over 60 countries and how they can also take advantage to find new business opportunities and take advantage of it themselves. Enjoy!
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Scott Silverman | Context Over Content, The Demand for Immediacy, & Experiential Marketing
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Scott Silverman, currently the Director of Integrated Marketing @ The Context Collective. Scott dramatically shifted gears from morning drive radio host and sketch comedian, to joining Ogilvy in the ’90s to then be sent to Bejing with the instructions “Fix China” referring to the IBM account they managed at the time. Scott has been working in and around China ever since. We talk about launching IBM's e-business and rejecting the oft-used “wall test” when it came to creating creative in Asia. We talk about the importance of localizing imagery or copy for each local market and the difference in measuring impact in the 2000s vs 5 years ago to gauge what was working and what wasn’t. Scott also takes us on a trip down memory lane around the impact mobile had on the marketing agency world in markets like Japan and China and the changes it predicated in digital media, as well as the changes it brought in the consumers the brands were targeting and trying to catch up with the expectation of immediacy.
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Lauren Hallanan | Live Commerce, Private Traffic & Idle Fish
In this episode of The Negotiation we have a really informative and high energy conversation with Lauren Hallanan, Head of Marketing @ Chatly and Author of Digital China; Working With Bloggers, Influencers & KOL’s. On today’s show, we really dive into influencer marketing in China, discussing the platforms, social media, innovation and penetration techniques. Lauren talks to us about using micro-influencers and professes a love for WeChat that may even eclipse my own. We talk about live streaming, particularly live commerce and how that works using KOCs, a term we just learned about on our last show. We also talk about private traffic and how difficult that is to come by now for brands given all their customer interactions are on social media, and how there’s finally a growing market for second-hand goods in China, led by Alibaba’s platform called Idle Fish. Enjoy!
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Tom Nixon | The Speed of China, An Innovation Mindset, & Reaching the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Tier Cities With Your Marketing
Today on The Negotiation, Tom Nixon tells us that the speed of adaptation is China’s biggest strength and is unmatched in this factor compared to Western economies. One huge differentiator with the Chinese is that, unlike much of the West, they’re not afraid to put early-iteration products out into the market right away and to pull them out if they are not initially successful. They are also unafraid to go wide when it comes to reaching consumers, hence the plethora of eCommerce applications available in the country.
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Rebecca Fannin | The Race for Technology Supremacy & Alibaba Life After Jack Ma
Today on The Negotiation, Rebecca Fannin discusses the globalization of leading Chinese tech companies such as Pinduoduo, TikTok, Xiomi, and DJI. She has gained a deep understanding of the rapidly-evolving business landscape in the country, having interviewed the likes of Jack Ma, Robin Li, and many others back when their now-globally recognized brands were still in their startup days. Out of these interviews and personal experiences working in the country, Rebecca published her first book in 2007, Silicon Dragon, and has since published two more books: Startup Asia (2011) and Tech Titans of China (2019).
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Shawn Graham | From Politician to Chinese Business Consultant & The Importance of Building On-The-Ground Human Relationships in China
In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with the 31st Premier of New Brunswick, Shawn Graham. Since leaving office Shawn has dedicated his career to a focus on China working with a number of businesses in China both as a partner and as a consultant to China-focused enterprises. We look back at his time as Premier leading trade missions to China, welcoming trade missions from China, and reflects on how amazed he is every time he sets foot in China how fast their economy is growing, and the challenges Chinese manufacturers face as their quality of goods begin to match and in cases exceed the quality of their international competitors.
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Doug Pearce | Chinese Megabrands, Agency Pitching Best Practices, & Using KOLs and Social Marketing in China
On this episode of The Negotiation we have Doug Pearce, the CEO of Doohken Network, based in Shanghai China, a company driving change and digitization in the China outdoor advertising industry. Doug is the former CEO of Omnicom Media Group for Greater China and is likely the only person to have run a creative agency (Leo Burnett), Media Agency (at a brand level with Starcom MediaVest Group and holding company level with Omnicom) plus a Consultancy business with Accenture, and now a start-up in the ad tech media owner space. He’s been in China since the mid-2000s and has an absolute wealth of ad and marketing experience to share so we hope you enjoy it!
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William Bao Bean | China's First Startup Accelerator, The Chinese Entrepreneur's Modus Operandi, & SOSV's Asia Investment Thesis
On this episode of The Negotiation, William Bao Bean discusses what makes China one of the most competitive markets in the world. He points to the quick adoption of new technologies—particularly artificial intelligence—as one of the main drivers of the country’s economic growth. We talk about entrepreneurship in China where William says it's like "Lean Startup with Chinese characteristics", the angel investment landscape in China, and what he means when he says China is a "mobile-first, mobile-only" digital economy.
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Bessie Lee | 3 Decades of Marketing in China, Marketing Technology Startups, and How AI Is Disrupting it All Everywhere
On today’s show, we talk with Bessie Lee, former CEO for WPP China, a company she spent 27 years with, and Founder at Withinlink, a China-based startup incubator and early-stage venture fund focused on marketing technology for China’s advertising, media, and communications industries. On today’s show we cover a lot of ground, discussing the 3 decades of marketing and advertising that Bessie was witness to during her time with WPP, the work she is doing now helping martech startups, how the China market is actually similar to it’s Western counterpart, and how AI is disrupting the marketing industry in China and abroad.
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Elizabeth Campbell | PPC West vs. East, Forming Chinese Marketing Teams, and the Value of Custom Built China Data Analytics Software
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Elizabeth Campbell, Senior Director, Global Marketing Communications @ Kollmorgan, discussing her experiences working in marketing and communications within the Chinese market. Elizabeth considers the building of their digital marketing capabilities to be a “critical part of the overall growth strategy” for success in China. We dive into the pay per click differences between the west and east; we talk about her experiences building on the ground marketing teams in China right down to the job description and discuss how data is gathered in China and leveraging custom-built analytics software to translate it.
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Sally Zhang | A Masterclass in Dominating Alibaba's Taobao eCommerce Platform
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Sally Zhang, VP of E-commerce here at WPIC Marketing + Technologies. Sally knows e-commerce in China, especially Taobao, given she is one of a select few of Alibaba’s hand-picked “Taobao Lecturers” teaching vendors on Taobao how to run their stores successfully. Naturally she speaks at length on Alibaba’s recommendations to drive e-commerce on their platforms, but we also spoke a great deal about this year’s record-breaking Singles Day and the most effective tactics that both brands and the ecommerce platforms were using. We also spoke about trends in the changing Chinese consumer profile in just the last 12 months alone and where she sees future changes ahead. We also look ahead to 2020 and what we can expect from the next big shopping time of the year in China, Chinese New Year.
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Jordan Rosenberg | Unpacking China's Relationship With Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Cryptocurrencies
On today’s show, we talk with Jordan Rosenberg, a blockchain consultant who spent 10 years in China and is now based in South East Asia. Jordan was kind enough to come on the show to help us unpack the relationship China has with blockchain and how unique it is given the state of banking and China being a mostly cash-less society. We talk about digital payments and their impact on bitcoin and vice versa, as well as why China has been the front-runner in bitcoin mining as well as the global leader in producing the hardware to do so. We also discuss how or why the value of the renminbi might be a part of the frothiness of cryptocurrency valuations globally, and what the future of blockchain and bitcoin looks like in China. I hope you enjoy it.
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Singles Day Recap with Hao Lin of Alibaba Cloud & Joseph Cooke of WPIC Marketing + Technologies
We pulled this episode from a recent webinar we did with Hao Lin, Head of Channel and Strategic Initiatives at Alibaba Cloud, and Joseph Cooke, President of WPIC Marketing + Technologies. We spoke about opportunities for global brands in China, the process it would need to undertake, what an ICP license is etc, as well as the broader trends that are being seen in the market today and how technology is impacting them. We then shifted gears into talking directly about singles day and some of the trends we saw there as well as some of the winning tactics brands used to be successful.
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Mathias Chaillou | China's Video Platforms, Risk Tolerance of Chinese Brands, and the Changing Agency Landscape in China
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Mathias Chaillou, a man with 2 decades of experience working for large multinational advertising groups like Carat, much of which was in China, and is now Global Head of Strategic Operations for Zenith, a Publicis company. On today’s show we discuss how China’s video platforms like Youku, QQ Video and iQIYI not only differ from YouTube and Netflix but also surprisingly dwarf them in viewership, the formula for successfully securing business in China as an agency, the risk tolerance of Chinese brands and how it’s changed over the years, and how the agency model is changing in China.
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Todd Embley | Being An Expat Entrepreneur, Building Asia's First Tech Accelerator, and VC Investing in China
In this episode the tables are turned and Joseph Cooke, CoFounder and President of WPIC Marketing + Technologies, takes on the role of host and puts regular host Todd Embley on the hot seat. Todd talks about launching and growing Chinaccelerator, Asia’s first and most successful tech accelerator, what the startup landscape looked like in China from 2008 to 2016, why WeChat was the greatest tool that could have been invented to help startups scale quickly, and the massive difference in how a China-focused startup spends a series A versus those in the West.
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Leif Rogers and David Noel | Major Sports Brand Building in China, the Rise of Health and Fitness, and the NBA Tweet to Forget
On today's episode of The Negotiation I’m speaking with David Noel and Leif Rogers, Partners and CoFounders of Red Phoenix Entertainment, a firm that bridges American sports and entertainment with emerging markets by connecting sports stars, celebrities and musicians, with global companies and brands, helping to expand sponsorships, branding and market presence across Asia for American brands, stars and sports and vice versa. In this episode we discuss the opportunity available to sports brands, and the sports themselves, that’s present and clear in the China market, how they help purely domestic Chinese corporate entities build presence in America though sporting sponsorships, the importance of using agencies to go cross-border as a local market sherpas, and their 5 tiers of brand building success.
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Milo Chao | Auto vs. Infant Milk Powder Industries, the Importance of CSR to Brand Building, and Investing in Customer Service for Chinese Consumers
On this episode of The Negotiation, we welcome Milo Chao, formerly with TBWA China for over 4 years and an Expert in Residence at Chinaccelerator, and now the Co-Founder of Chao and Cao, a Shanghai-based strategic advisory firm established to help foreign brands grow locally and Chinese brands grow internationally. Milo has over 2 decades of marketing and branding experience, much of it in China, which inevitably led to this becoming our longest episode to date. We thoroughly discuss many aspects of China market entry, covering the difficulties of marketing in the auto industry to why the infant milk industry was surprisingly easier. We also talked about whether Chinese consumers care about a brand’s CSR activities and social impact status, the importance of maintaining or even investing further in customer service resources for China, and why brand’s need to invest in revamping their customer profiles from the beginning and re-learning customer empathy for the Chinese market.
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Rob Arthurs | China Import Regulations, Chinese Consumer Buying Cycles, and Using Free Trade Zones Effectively
On today’s show, we talk with Rob Arthurs, President of Robert Arthurs International, an International matchmaking firm that specializes in matching International inquiries in the agricultural space to North American companies, and helps North American companies penetrate foreign marketplaces like China with their products. Rob focuses his efforts on what he calls Agri-food, and we discuss the struggles involved in this commerce niche, as well as the buying cycle in China, and why brands should look to enter China through one of the country’s 18 free trade zones.
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Alex Duncan | Exploring the Social Media Landscape in China and the Importance of Quality Content
On today’s show, we talk with Alex Duncan, Co-Founder and Product Lead at KAWO, a platform that helps global brands be loved on social media. We deep dive into the various social media platforms, how each is being used by brands today, and the importance of quality content creation.
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Elliott Zaagman | Trends from US Listed Chinese Companies and Building Partnerships in China
In this episode of The Negotiation, I speak with Elliott Zaagman, Co-Host of the China Tech Investor podcast and full-stack media producer, executive coach, and international PR consultant. Today we discuss trends in China derived from stock market activities, why so many Chinese companies choose to list on American stock exchanges, and how foreign brands can better prepare themselves for partnering with Chinese companies.
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Stephen Drummond | China Market Complexities That Drive Brands to Reboot Timeless Creative Strategies
In this episode of The Negotiation I speak with Stephen Drummond, Owner/Operator of Campaign Coach China, about working and living in China’s heavily monitored internet ecosystem, market complexities driving brands to reboot tried, true and timeless brand creative strategies, and why foreign brands must work harder now that the cache of being foreign is quickly evaporating.
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Charles Lavoie | Vodka, Hockey, and Blending History With Pop Culture to Build a Brand Identity in China
In this episode of The Negotiation I speak with Charles Lavoie, Brand Strategist at PBB Creative, about launching an Italian Vodka brand in China, helping hockey become popular there, and why the best brand-building strategy should be a blend of China’s deep historical roots and beliefs and today’s pop culture and social media phenomenons.
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André-Philippe Chenail | The Multi-Sentimented Business Landscape in China and Their Leap Forward in Sophistication
Today we speak with André-Philippe Chenail, former Quebec Chapter Director of Canada China Business Council and Candidate for the St. Jean riding for the Green Party of Canada, speaking about the role of the Canada China Business Council in helping cross-cultural business relations and his time running both the Shanghai and Quebec offices, China’s leap in sophistication, and what he’s seeing as the most important trends in the China business landscape.
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Jacob Cooke | Singles Day, November 11th, the Largest Shopping Day of the Year
Today on The Negotiation, we talk with Jacob Cooke, Co-Founder & CEO of WPIC Marketing + Technologies, discussing the largest single shopping day in the world, Singles Day, that eclipsed $30 billion in sales last year in a 24 hour period. Jacob helps us break down exactly what Singles Day is in China, how it works, and gives his expert advice for companies who want to be able to take advantage of this remarkable eCommerce extravaganza.
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Michael Zakkour | Explaining "New Retail" and Cultural Dexterity in the Chinese Market
Today on The Negotiation, we talk with Michael Zakkour, Vice President of Asia and Digital International for Tompkins International, a global consulting firm focused on digital commerce, retail, and consumer products, and also the author of "New Retail: Born in China, Going Global.” Today we discuss why it's so important to deeply understand China's culture, history, philosophy, and language especially with regards to your target market and what new retail is, and why China is leading the global charge.
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Phillip Beck | Look-a-Like Data, Managing Bad PR, and Capability Mapping
Today on The Negotiation, we talk with Philip Beck, Chairman of Dubeta, discussing lookalike data, managing bad PR, and capability mapping. Having done business in China since 1995, Philip has a pulse on the country’s startup culture. Today, he shares his knowledge on how brands can digitize their operations in China, and then reach, resonate with and serve potential consumers.
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Jacob and Joseph Cooke | Big Data in China and Branding Through Experience not Presence
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Canadian brothers Jacob and Joseph Cooke, the founders of WPIC Marketing and Technologies. We talk about WPIC's humble beginnings in Beijing, the difference between managing a web presence and offering a digital experience, and why data is the key to winning in China.
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Amanda Liu | Data, Analytics, and China's Social Media Landscape
In this episode of The Negotiation, we talked with Amanda Liu, Product Manager for Chinalytics, discussing data and analytics, traffic acquisition strategies for B2B and B2C, and the incredible power of China's social media networks.
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David Sullivan | Winning and Losing in China
On our inaugural episode we talk with David Sullivan, Managing Partner at Deo Navillus Global Solutions, about winning and losing in China, and what every brand needs to take care of on the home front before they make the leap into the digital Middle Kingdom.
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The Negotiation With Todd Embley
Executive Producer and Host of The Negotiation, Todd Embley, breaks down what the show is all about in under 60s.
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