The Impact of Social Media on Public
          Affairs in China


                               Alan VanderMolen
        ...
What is Social Media?


   •   Internet-linked
   •   Many-to-many, user-generated content
   •   A keyboard and a point-o...
Traditional Influencing
Model




                          Brands
The World Does Not Revolve Around You:
The Public Engagement Cloud




       Brands
• Conversations can start
                                         anywhere within a network

producers              comme...
Public Engagement Imperative




       Brands   Insight   Collaboration   Innovation
The Challenge Is To EVOLVE



                              from pitching to informing

                              from...
China Internet: The Numbers


  •   338 million users
  •   181 million bloggers, 119 million active
  •   155 million acc...
Major Websites in China All
Have Social Media Components
  • QQ /Tencent from IM to gaming to blogs
  • BBS: from tianya.c...
China and the Internet

   • 84.3% of Chinese Internet users believe that the Internet is
     their most important source...
Online search engines most credible digital information source
Rivals credibility of traditional media sources in many cou...
The Unwritten Rules


  • National pride
  • Anti-establishment: Chinese Netizens love challenging
    authority
  • Sensa...
A View from the Government

  • The characteristics of online public opinion crises
     – suddenness 突发性
     – destructi...
Importance of “Social Media” to
Overall Public Affairs Strategy in China


   How important is social media to your
   bro...
Social Media’s Influence Over
Public Policy

   To what extent do you believe opinions
   expressed in online and digital ...
Statements About Social Media
Digital Public Affairs Case
Studies in China
Tengzhong - Hummer Deal
 How story broke: Unstructured announcement
 • GM Chapter 11: Hummer to be discontinued
 • One day...
Tengzhong - Hummer Deal

  Government & Social Media Reactions
  • Ministry of Commerce had not received applications from...
Hangzhou 70kph

 Media report fatal car accident
 • “Working class" man hit and killed; although driver’s
   speed excessi...
Hangzhou 70kph

  Police reaction
  • Hangzhou police update speed to between 84 and 101 kph
  • Driver sentenced to three...
Mineralized Water



  Story broke on BBS website
  • “Master Kong, where is your water source?” accuses Master Kong (康师傅)...
Mineralized Water

  How Story Played Out
  • Government regulators get involved, review bottled water standards
  • Maste...
Insights for Engagement
Listen With New Intelligence




                    Start by listening to stakeholders from all stripes
Participate in Conversation:
Real time/All the time

                           Widgets           Blogs
       Social
    ...
Every Company Is A Media Company:
Create And Co-Create Content




           Every organization must create content, not ...
Champion Open Advocacy




            Advocate for change. State where you stand and why.
The Impact of Social Media on Public
          Affairs in China


                              Alan VanderMolen
         ...
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The Impact of Social Media on Public Affairs in China

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Alan Vandermolen, President of Edelman APAC, spoke at the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong on April 28, 2010, on the Imact of Social Media on Public Affairs in China.

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The Impact of Social Media on Public Affairs in China

  1. 1. The Impact of Social Media on Public Affairs in China Alan VanderMolen President, Asia Pacific, Edelman 28 April 2010, Hong Kong
  2. 2. What is Social Media? • Internet-linked • Many-to-many, user-generated content • A keyboard and a point-of-view gets you into the discussion • Governments, companies and citizens are becoming their own media companies
  3. 3. Traditional Influencing Model Brands
  4. 4. The World Does Not Revolve Around You: The Public Engagement Cloud Brands
  5. 5. • Conversations can start anywhere within a network producers commentators • Influence flows from multiple sources – no longer the sole domain of mass media • Influence can spread in any direction curators • Real people can be influencers and/ or amplifiers • Different psychographics: sharers watchers Watchers, Sharers, Commentators, Producers, Curators Conversations start anywhere – and involve influencers of all stripes
  6. 6. Public Engagement Imperative Brands Insight Collaboration Innovation
  7. 7. The Challenge Is To EVOLVE from pitching to informing from control to conversation from static stories to dynamic narratives from influencing to advocating
  8. 8. China Internet: The Numbers • 338 million users • 181 million bloggers, 119 million active • 155 million access using mobile phones • 124 million social network (SNS) users • 102 million BBS users • 62.8% of users are aged 10 - 29 Data source: CNNIC reports June and November 2009
  9. 9. Major Websites in China All Have Social Media Components • QQ /Tencent from IM to gaming to blogs • BBS: from tianya.cn to People’s Daily to Baidu.com to tiexue.net… • SNS: Kaixin001.com, Renren.com, 51.com • Blogs and news commentary: Sina.com, Sohu.com • Video: Youku.com, Tudou.com • Microblogging: Sina, QQ • Auction/e-commerce: Taobao.com
  10. 10. China and the Internet • 84.3% of Chinese Internet users believe that the Internet is their most important source of information. Data source: CNNIC, June 2009 • Chinese social networking Websites, especially Sina, Weibo and Kaixin001, are reshaping the overall online communications ecosystem. Source: Edelman Digital Brand Index, April 2010
  11. 11. Online search engines most credible digital information source Rivals credibility of traditional media sources in many countries Credible Sources of Information – Digital Online search engines Free content sources Social networking sites Blogs 100% 90% China India Japan S. Korea Indonesia Singapore Australia 80% 70% 60% 56% 50% 47% 43% 43% 41% 40% 40% 37% 37% 33% 30% 30% 30% 27% 27% 28% 27% 25% 25% 22% 22% 23% 19% 20% 16% 16% 15% 15% 13% 11% 10% 7% 0% China India Japan S. Korea Indonesia Singapore Australia E84-97. Now I’m going to read you a list of places where you might get information about a company. Please tell me how credible you believe each one of them is as a source of information about the company—is it extremely credible, very credible, somewhat credible, or not credible at all? (Top 2 box, very + extremely credible) Informed Publics ages 25-64 11
  12. 12. The Unwritten Rules • National pride • Anti-establishment: Chinese Netizens love challenging authority • Sensational: Chaozuo 炒作 • Replicable: Zhuanzai 转载
  13. 13. A View from the Government • The characteristics of online public opinion crises – suddenness 突发性 – destructiveness 破坏性 – urgency 紧迫性 • In the Internet age, many of the means of news control that were effective in the past are no longer useful, and many in fact bind our own feet and hands, creating passivity in the handling of crises by the party and the government. 在网络时代,许多过去行之有效的新闻管理办法有的已经不起作用, 有的 反而束缚我们自己的手脚,造成党和政府处理事件的被动。 Source: government document ‘How public prosecutors can neutralize online opinion crises’ — August 2009 http://media.nfdaily.cn/content/2009-08/13/content_5553979.htm
  14. 14. Importance of “Social Media” to Overall Public Affairs Strategy in China How important is social media to your broader public affairs strategy in China? Extremely important 17% Very important 28% 74% Somewhat important 29% Not particularly important 14% Not at all important 13%
  15. 15. Social Media’s Influence Over Public Policy To what extent do you believe opinions expressed in online and digital social media channels influence contemporary public policy in China? The most influential media 10% channel available 67% Often more influential than 57% other media channels No more influential than other 24% media Less influential than other media 9% channels
  16. 16. Statements About Social Media
  17. 17. Digital Public Affairs Case Studies in China
  18. 18. Tengzhong - Hummer Deal How story broke: Unstructured announcement • GM Chapter 11: Hummer to be discontinued • One day later: GM says MOU signed with Chinese buyer Social media reaction • Online criticism and allegations: deal is money laundering; exporting capital from China Deal is confirmed • Formal announcement 5 months later
  19. 19. Tengzhong - Hummer Deal Government & Social Media Reactions • Ministry of Commerce had not received applications from Tengzhong • Bloggers: “Against Chinese government's commitment to low-carbon economic development and environmental laws“ Lessons Learned • Poor communication between buyer and seller • Treated as ‘transactional, top down’; ignored digital • Online commentary: national pride issues can attract celebrity bloggers who have clout of mainstream media with strong following
  20. 20. Hangzhou 70kph Media report fatal car accident • “Working class" man hit and killed; although driver’s speed excessive, police issued minor citation for driving at 70 kph Social media reaction: “Human flesh search engine” • Netizens outraged at deference to driver’s wealthy background and nonchalant attitude • “Human flesh search engine" investigates driver • "70 kph" becomes online catch-phrase
  21. 21. Hangzhou 70kph Police reaction • Hangzhou police update speed to between 84 and 101 kph • Driver sentenced to three years in prison • Netizens compare photos at crime scene; suggesting driver paid someone to take his place in jail • Driver later expressed regret and offered proof of his identity Lessons Learned • Authorities are subject to same online forces as companies • Chinese netizens are sensitive about apparent abuses by the wealthy • Slow police reaction to online criticism enhanced netizen suspicions
  22. 22. Mineralized Water Story broke on BBS website • “Master Kong, where is your water source?” accuses Master Kong (康师傅) of quality problems – mineral water is merely tap water • Huge response from netizens, accusing the company of false advertising Traditional media picks up story • National Business Daily notes bottling plant is located in an area without natural springs • Master Kong representative: "Everyone does it. A one or two kuai bottle of water can't be natural spring water"
  23. 23. Mineralized Water How Story Played Out • Government regulators get involved, review bottled water standards • Master Kong apologizes for "gap in understanding“, not adequately explaining its "superior source”. Water is now labeled as “distilled,” “mineral” or mineralized”. • Online China Youth Daily poll: 57.3% of respondents will no longer buy Master Kong water; 72.9% believe supervision of the water industry needs to be strengthened Lessons Learned • Social media is the world’s biggest fact-checker and can rapidly expose false advertising • Traditional media now feeds off social media
  24. 24. Insights for Engagement
  25. 25. Listen With New Intelligence Start by listening to stakeholders from all stripes
  26. 26. Participate in Conversation: Real time/All the time Widgets Blogs Social Message networking boards sites Insight Collaboration Innovation Credible voices Participate as equals Be transparent Find and participate in conversations in a transparent way
  27. 27. Every Company Is A Media Company: Create And Co-Create Content Every organization must create content, not rely on media
  28. 28. Champion Open Advocacy Advocate for change. State where you stand and why.
  29. 29. The Impact of Social Media on Public Affairs in China Alan VanderMolen President, Asia Pacific, Edelman 28 April 2010, Hong Kong

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