Painless (I Promise) Primer ...


I made my first trip to China in 1998.

To say it seemed like another planet doesn’t quite capture the feeling. Try a different universe.

I remember attempting to place a classified ad in China that required signoff from multiple government entities. It turned into a Kafka-esque exercise when the third stop found something out of order, requiring us to start over with the first government entity. “No, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

People collect coins, stamps, baseball cards or some form of kitsch. I collect magazine covers focused on China. One of my favorites appeared in BusinessWeek in 2004, examining China’s ability to make stuff cheap.BusinessWeek China Cover 10-15China has come a long way over the past 10 years. No question, the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing lifted the China Inc. brand to a new level. It didn’t seem so foreign, at least on TV with Michael Phelps splashing his way to a stash of eight gold medals. While my China magazine cover collection comes from English publications, I made an exception in 2001, snagging this front page of the Beijing Youth Daily when the IOC officially awarded China the 2008 Summer Olympics.Beijing Youth Daily 2008 10-15Still, even after all the research, all the studying and more than 25 trips to China, I’m always learning new things about China. It’s worth the effort because China is a top priority for virtually every tech company in Silicon Valley and across the U.S.

Which means those with global responsibility for PR and brand building need to get their arms around China. This seminar on Nov. 17, “Cracking the China PR Code,” will help you do exactly that.Cracking the China PR Code 10-15We’re teaming with PR Week Asia and PR Newswire for the two-hour session which will address questions such as the following:

  • What are the PR mistakes that American companies make time and time again in China?
  • Should you care about the “De-IOE Movement” if you’re not IBM, Oracle or EMC?
  • How do relationships (“guanxi”) impact business and brand building in China?
  • How does social media in China intersect with business communications?
  • What is the media landscape like in China?
  • Do journalists in China still expect a “transportation fee” to attend press events?

While Andreessen Horowitz is hosting the seminar, the content will have relevance to all Silicon Valley companies, not just startups.

As part of the seminar, I’ll be interviewing a friend and colleague, Will Moss, who is currently senior director, global corporate communications for Motorola Mobility, working out of Silicon Valley. But Will spent the almost nine years on the ground in Beijing split between Burson Marsteller and Motorola in various senior communications roles. In short, when it comes to PR in China, he knows his stuff … and has the requisite war stories. I’m confident my interviewing ability will cajole at least couple out of him.

PR Newswire’s Michael Pranikoff, a real student of media, will also be speaking on brand building in China, followed by two of our senior Asian folks with deep China background, Cassandra Cheong (AP managing director) and Jenny Chan (VP of business development), who will get into the nuts and bolts of constructing a public footprint in China.

It should be a fun, lively and informative session.

You can find the Eventbrite page to sign up here.

Seating is limited to 80 people, so if you’re interested, sign up as soon as possible.

Sidenote: I’ve written a fair amount on China-related issues over the years. Here are a few of these posts


  • Evelyn

    I might actually be there depending on when I fly in! 🙂

    • Lou Hoffman

      If you’re in town, by all means attend. You would certainly add another China-centric dimension to the discussion.

  • Jane

    Hi Lou, Greetings from Beijing. Too bad that I will miss this interesting dialogue. Interesting enough, Will Moss staffed a media briefing for me for the then chief executive of Accenture’s Communications and High Tech Operating Group in BJ a few years ago while he was at BM.The media landscape here has been changing in the last couple of years…Will catch up after my return around Thanksgiving.

    • Lou Hoffman

      What a small world. I’ll need to ask Mr. Moss about the Accenture days.


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