Authorjaapgrolleman

Dutch strategy planner at Seventy Shanghai.

Crazy Shanghai: a blank canvas

When you look down at the city from the 121st floor of the Shanghai Tower, it’s as if you’re looking at a computer simulation. The view that houses 24 million people is insane. Across all horizons, the skyline is filled with exotic skyscrapers and thousands of high rise apartment buildings, nearly all of it being built within the last 25 years. Down at a street level you find old art...

Western brands in China: hits and misses

Western companies looking to expand their business often underestimate the competitiveness of the Chinese market. Often, what stands in the way of success is a lack of understanding on what Chinese consumers value and how they shop. But then there are some that have done their research, made local partnerships, made necessary changes, and earned the rewards. So here’s some twenty examples...

Contextual China: blurred boundaries

When we think about China, we often reduce nuances to black and white absolutes. Either China is a country with oppressed people and smog-filled skies, or it is the juggernaut that will inevitably rule the world’s economy. Neither of these views is particularly useful, and rather than debating what’s good or bad, it’s more interesting to look how China is different. There are...

QR codes in China: not vilified, mainstream instead

Around ten years ago, when you used a urinal in a popular bar or cinema in Europe, chances were you had an advertisement poster in your view, with a big QR code in the lower right corner. Western marketeers used the QR code primarily to redirect people to their advertisements or websites for more information on their product, which nobody really did, because nobody cared. Not only was the intent...

Modern luxury in China: no more ‘same old bling’

With 300 million rich Chinese consumers, China’s takes an 8.9% share of the global luxury market — although it’s probably more if you consider Chinese tourists who buy luxury products outside of China. On the surface, luxury advertising in China is similar to that in the West. There are all the global brands with similar faces and similar visuals with golden gradients with serif...

The advent of coffee in the motherland of tea

Perhaps it’s because of the lure of Western luxury, or perhaps it’s because tea houses — which have existed for over two thousand years in China and never had much competition — were no match against brands like Starbucks. Or perhaps it’s because modern China has no time for the leisure way of drinking tea (for hours and hours) which had been popular for centuries. Or perhaps...