DCCC Gained Insight on Chinese Media

The Danish Chamber of Commerce Shanghai hosted an event with the title ‘Inside Chinese Media – Get under the dragon’s tongue’ at the Longemont Hotel on Thursday 24th of May 2012.

Speakers were the Hong Kong based award-winning journalist and book author George Chen and Hong Bing, Associate Professor at Journalism School of Fudan University in Shanghai.

George Chen is Editor, Financial Services at South China Morning Post. Before joining this position he worked many years for Reuters and Dow Jones. In his presentation he focused on, how foreign media covers China and which sources they have access to.

Hong Bing, who has been teaching at Fudan University since 1994, gave a very interesting presentation about how the rise of blogging in China has changed and will continue to change the ways stories are developed in China and its power to raise awareness on particular issues, so that they end up in the established press and even trigger actions by authorities.

In China 2010 is seen as the “first” important year of micro blogging. That year 20% of the stories in the media originated from weibo (Chinese word for micro-blogging). The 2 bloggs QQ.com and Sina.com that year each had more than 100 million bloggers. Weibo since then has become an important source of daily information to many Chinese.

Professor Hong gave two examples of big stories in Chinese media, which have originated from personal blogging.

One of them was the story of the 20 year old girl Guo MeiMei, who had many pictures of herself with expensive luxury brand bags, shoes and cars. She claimed on her profile that she was General Manager of the Red Cross Chamber of Commerce.

Another blogger Mr. Zhou Yowu started digging into her story, as he found it rather strange that a girl at the age of only 20 years could be GM at Red Cross and be able to afford such expensive items working for a non-profit organization.  During the following day, it was discovered that she was related to someone, who was doing business with Red Cross. The Chinese Red Cross did not handle the media storm very well that followed, explaining their relationship to this guy and as a result the donations to Chinese Red Cross have dropped by 80% within the following months.

It shows the power of micro blogging in China and how the creation of stories more and more are built from ”bottom up” than traditional “top down”.

The power of micro blogging will continue

The two speakers agreed during the following question and answer session. A very active crowd raised many interesting questions like: The owner of Huntington Post has been quoted saying, that in few years time more than 30% of the content in the media will be created by the readers and not journalists – is it the same trend in China? Which groups would be recommended to follow in China for foreigners to get best information regarding financial development and opportunities?

No doubt that a lot of the participants got a new insight into the changing landscape of China’s media.  As professor Hong Bing said during his presentation, rewriting an old Chinese proverb to describe weibo – “Get together and watch, and that changes China”.

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