Are you doing business in China (or planning to do business there)? Do you understand the special dimensions of utilizing Chinese media?
Glenn Leibowitz of McKinsey & Company offers us 10 tips for dealing with Chinese media:
1. Global news penetrates Chinese media very quickly. “Chinese media follow international media very closely. They’ll pick up stories and translate them on the same day they appear in a major international news outlet.”
2. Media are censored. “Even more commercially-oriented media outlets still need to run their stories through the vast government censorship apparatus.”
3. Media like stories aligned with the government’s economic agenda. “Stories seen as supporting the government’s economic narrative have a higher chance of landing on the pages of a publication or Web site.”
4. There are three “flavors” of written Chinese. “In Mainland China, media use the ‘simplified’ Chinese character set, which contains many characters that differ in how they’re written in Hong Kong and Taiwan, which use the ‘traditional’, or ‘complex’, character set. And Hong Kong does not use exactly the same set of characters that Taiwan uses, resulting in three different ‘flavors’ of written Chinese across the region.”
5. Editorial standards are rising fast. “While some reporters still publish a cut-and-paste version of your press release, Chinese media — both frontline journalists and their editors back at the bureau — are getting more demanding when it comes to determining what meets their bar for news.”
6. Chinese journalists value personal relationships. “Chinese journalists, while still placing a heavier weighting on the inherent newsworthiness of a story, nonetheless still place a high value on getting to know the in-house and agency PR folks they deal with day-to-day.”
7. Off-the-record can easily become on-the-record. “Editors are more likely to chop material from a story that isn’t supported by a quote or data point from a trustworthy source. If you’re hoping to be helpful to a reporter while keeping your company’s name out of the story, don’t count on it.”
8. Chinese media will read quotes back before publishing. “They don’t always do this, but in general, their willingness to read back quotes before publishing for fact-checking is fairly high.”
9. Most reporters don’t speak English very well. “This means you need to make sure you deliver your message in Chinese. Having native speakers of Chinese deliver a presentation at a media briefing or answer questions during an interview is ideal.”
10. A growing number of Chinese reporters speak English extremely well. “They’ve probably earned degrees abroad, or belong to that class of remarkable people who mysteriously master English without ever having stepped foot outside of China.”
Click the image to read more from Leibowitz.