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The end of Google China?

January 12, 2010

Google announced on Tuesday it may end its operations in China after it discovered that the email accounts of human rights activists had been breached.

A lengthy blog post by David Drummond, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer said that the company is no longer willing to censor search results which may lead to the closing of Google’s China operations.  Mr Drummond accused the Chinese government of ‘further limiting free speech on the web’ through its censorship and strict regulatory controls.

The announcement comes after years of conflict with the Chinese government.

The “Digital Gap”

January 10, 2010

Interesting article in the China Daily this morning discussing how digital and wireless technologies are creating divides between social and economic classes in Hong Kong.

One irony of the Internet age is that while, on the one hand, digital and wireless technologies are clearly bridging gaps, they are also creating or exacerbating them -generational, access and cost gaps, to name key ones, Tiffany Wong reports in this second of a two-part write-up

By no means is this an issue specific to Asia, but the generational gap in countries like China is already vast. Is digital and mobile technology making this gap worse?


IMDb “Hotbed of Evil Forces”, Chinese Official (satire)

January 9, 2010

IMDb, the film review website, has been blocked in China following allegations from the Ministry of Information that the website is a ‘hotbed of anti-Chinese forces’.

“It has come to our attention that IMDb and various groups funtioning on the site have intentions to hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” said one official at a press conference earlier this week. “IMDb is used as a tool by celebrities and highly organised separatist groups to propagate information through film reviews that may harm China’s economic and social development”.

The International Celebrities for a Better China Coalition (ICBCC) released a public statement yesterday expressing the upset caused by the blocking of the website in China. “IMDb’s film reviews have long been a primary medium for communicating pressing human rights issues with the Chinese people,” said one reality TV star who chose to remain anonymous. “The blocking of IMDb in mainland China is an enormous upset for all members of the ICBCC.”

The move is seen by many as an attempt by the Chinese government to step up its internet censoring programme drawing criticism from human rights groups.

Top 5: Tweeters in China to Follow

January 8, 2010

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another Follow Friday!  Here’s my top five pick of people in China tweeting about digital and social media:

1. @kaiserkuo  Columnist, rocker and digital icon, Kaiser is one of the stars of China’s digital media industry. 

2. @imagethief  Imagethief is the head of an ‘international PR company’s’ office in China (no points if you can guess which one).  Imagethief has a great insight into the ins and outs of China’s PR industry. His blog is also worth a read too.

3. @thomascrampton Thomas is the Asia-Pacific director of digital influence at Ogilvy. His website is one of the best sources around for information on social media in China.

4. @ajschokora Adam is a digital strategist working for American PR firm Edelman in Shanghai. Adam is also a co-founder of Neocha– a bilingual portal showcasing creative talent and emerging youth culture in China.

5. @Pete_Fraser Pete is a digital strategist at advertising agency Publicis.  He also has a fantastic sense of humour.

A New Round of GFW Blockings

January 8, 2010

Another one bites the dust

IMBD, the movie review website, has been declared another victim of China’s Great Firewall.  IMDb, an obvious hotbed of anti-Chinese government forces, could not be accessed in China from January 6th.

One of China’s leading social networking sites with over 100 million users,, was also inaccessible from within mainland China yesterday due to ‘undisclosed reasons’.

Other websites blocked include, an internet and technology portal with 10 million registered users, and, a blogging site with five million users.  The sites were blocked following accusations the sites were hosting sites containing ‘harmful information’.

Read the story from China Daily here.

Australia’s Top 5 Social Media Campaigns

January 6, 2010

Last year was a big year for social media in Australia. Here’s my top 5 for the best social media campaigns in Australia in 2009.

1. Tourism Queensland: Best Job in the World

Creator: Cummins Nitro (later acquired by Sapient)

This campaign achieved global acclaim winning two awards at the Cannes International Advertising Festival. The campaign, which offered the job as caretaker of Hamilton Island in Queensland’s pristine Great Barrier Reef, was created on a total budget of just $1.7 million yet generated more than $150 million worth of exposure. Managing director of Cummins Nitro Brisbane, Michael Branagh (@michaelbranagh) said that “globally it is estimated that more than three billion people have been exposed to [the Tourism Queensland campaign].” The job was won by UK resident Ben Southall (@bensouthall) who survived a deadly box jellyfish sting late last month (probably not the best PR for Queensland).

2. Australian Defence Force: Defence Force Game

Creator: Visual Jazz

This free military game by leading digital agency Visual Jazz is nothing short of brilliant.  The game has attracted over 1.1 million players- with one-third of all played being the target audience of Australians aged between 15 and 35.  The game has also resulted in approximately 6,000 job enquiries to the Australian Defence Force. Not bad! Click here to play the Defence Force game.

3. Amnesty International Australia: China Internet Censorship

Creators: Care Network, Bendalls Group, dgmAustralia

Amnesty International’s China Internet Censorship campaign was another big social media marketing success story.  Amnesty set out to engage online communities and spark a debate on internet censorship in China. Using Facebook, driving traffic to their campaign website and promoting the Online Day of Protest, Amnesty’s campaign achieved great exposure- and several sizeable donations. Newcastle based ad agency Sticky Media (@mediahunter) has a great analysis of the Amnesty social media campagn here.

4. V Australia: 4320:LA

Creator: Droga5 Sydney

Virgin Australia’s fun Twitter campaign also attracted a lot of attention in 2009.  Sydney-based agency Droga5 challenged users to tweet for 4320 minutes (three days) at a rate of one tweet per minute on V Australia’s new three day LA holiday packages. Users were asked to tweet why they should win the three day package tour.  Click here to check out the competition website.

5. Powerhouse Museum

Creator: Seb Chan at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Seb Chan’s integrated social media campaign for the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney is without a doubt one of the best campaigns of the year.  Using a clever combination of Facebook and Flickr to promote the museums up-and-coming exhibitions, the Powerhouse has attracted a loyal group of followers eager to use these social networking outlets to find out more information and stay informed.  Seb’s blog is also worth a read.

Kaiser Kuo on the Internet in China

January 6, 2010

Rocker and digital media guru Kaiser Kuo talks about China’s hottest digital gathering spots.

Social Media in Asia

January 2, 2010
Informative presentation from Ogilvy’s Thomas Crampton (@thomascrampton) on the state of social media in Asia.  Interesting statistics and data.  Have a look!

iPhone sales gain momentum in China

January 1, 2010

After a slow start, sales of iPhones are finally beginning to gain momentum in mainland China. Following the iPhone’s release earlier this year, iPhonAsia reports China Unicom has managed to shift 300,000 units- a figure still considered relatively low considering the size of the Chinese market.

The increase in sales is largely credited to China Unicom’s 46-city iPhone roadshow and education campaign.

To be frank, if I were considering buying an iPhone I probably wouldn’t buy it through China Unicom either.  Official iPhones sold in mainland China do not come with WiFi forcing all users to purchase data plans. Priced at a restrictive US$1000, consumers can easily purchase hacked iPhones for a similar price complete with WiFi.


You can shave the baby!

January 1, 2010
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Just another mad toy out of China. Whoever thought shaving a baby could be so much fun?!