The prospective business environment in China is outstanding: the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Shanghai World Expo in 2010, entry into the World Trade Organization, and the emergence of a robust consumer market.
All this promises to lead to an influx of business, ideas, people and products that will change China forever. Global businesses are paying attention to developments in China, and there is a great opportunity for the fledgling public relations industry, which is barely 20 years old.
As in any rapidly-evolving sector, there are also challenges as new practices meet tradition. Since the industry is so young, media relations …show more content…
Paying journalists - a practice Weber Shandwick condemns - is common, as journalists in China are poorly paid and publications often don't reimburse their journalists’ transportation costs. But it doesn’t buy media coverage: it’s true that the transportation allowance is required if you want a journalist to attend an event, but this payment certainly does not guarantee that the client's news will be covered.
Even if the publication does decide to write a story, there is no guarantee that coverage will be timely. News in China generally has a long shelf life, and can be published anywhere from immediately to one month after the event.
As in all markets across the world, the public relations industry in China relies heavily on public relations practitioners' relationships with journalists. The concept of "Guanxi" - good connections - is deeply rooted in Chinese culture and its influence is everywhere.
Until recently, relationships with journalists have depended on "Guanxi" rather than having a good story to tell, and as a result, clients are still more focused on how many journalists attend an event rather than the resulting coverage. It is one of the roles of global consultancies such as Weber Shandwick