China has 772 million Internet users, 98% of which access it on mobile devices, and a digital economy of CNY 4.15 trillion. These are the facts Steven Chang, Corporate Vice President of Tencent, opened with as he kicked-off Cannes Lions’ China Day, an annual one-day program dedicated to exploring Chinese creativity. These massive numbers showed Chang’s desire to try to explain China’s scale of digitalization to international audiences that don’t intuitively understand the power that Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent wield.
Steven Chang opens Cannes Lions China Day with a Tencent presentation
Touching on a common theme of the day, Matt Che, Vice President of Marketing, AB InBev APAC North, commented on a global misunderstanding of the power of China’s creativity, market and consumers. “When we look at the international perspective of the China market, people often think, ‘The China market is full of potential — full of growth.’ It has always been received as a low-hanging fruit market. That was probably true five or 10 years ago. But starting from about two to three years ago, it’s no longer low-hanging fruit. It’s just as tough as any other market to break into.”
Sophia Ong from Tencent moderates a session on Chinese innovation with Matt Che, VP Marketing, AB InBev APAC North, Asmita Dubey, Chief Digital Officer for Consumer Products, L’Oréal, and Minyi Zhang, Deputy GM of Tencent Social Ads.
腾讯Sophia Ong担任中国创新主题讨论主持人，嘉宾为百威英博亚太北区市场副总裁车祁、欧莱雅消费品首席数字官Asmita Dubey、腾讯社交广告部副总经理Minyi Zhang
Across the day’s sessions hosted by JD.com, DDB China Group, Huawei, Mindshare, Adquan, Baidu, iProspect China and more, brand and agency representatives repeated these themes. They laid out the 101 of how China consumes products, media and news to an audience of international creatives eager to learn about how to break into the world’s second largest economy.
Speakers also shared how China is leading the world in technological innovation, applying AI to brand and shopping experiences, mobile devices, cars and homes to a market of early-adopters with high demand for personalized, intelligent technology.
In addition to personalized brand experiences or self-driving cars, Wilson Yao, CEO of advertising agency AllYes, shared how agencies can apply AI to their campaigns. “I really love the word AI. It’s happening everywhere in different industries, including in the advertising industry. AI in the advertising industry is all about maximizing results. Providing the most effective advertising campaigns by using the most effective money to communicate the right message … and this is coming from Big Data.”
But most commonly, speakers came back to the issue of reframing Chinese brands as premium, innovative leaders, peaking in Huawei’s session, “Made in China – Changing Global Perception of Chinese Brands.” Andrew Garrihy, Chief Marketing Officer for Western Europe at Huawei, said, “There’s a perception that Chinese brands can’t be innovators, but it’s changing. We’re finally moving away from the idea that Chinese brands are mere copycats.”
但是，演讲嘉宾普遍都回归到一个话题上 – 重新定义中国品牌高端、创新领袖的形象，这一点在华为活动上最为热烈，“中国制造 – 让世界改变对中国品牌的看法。” 华为西欧区首席营销官Andrew Garrihy表示，“人们有一种观念，认为中国品牌不能创新，但现在人们的想法也在转变，终于不再认为中国品牌只是山寨了。”
SanShui of W Agency shares their creative philosophy and best campaigns
And most relevant to the Lions was the Chinese creativity on display. In an under-the-radar session from Sanshui Li, founder of indie creative agency W Shanghai, he shared their most provocative case studies. In their Wild Island exhibition that took over Shanghai’s Joy City Mall, W Shanghai proved that one amazing creative idea can be shared between 30 brands to make a shareable experience that engages with wider audiences.