Kudos is taking part in the start of an international network of communication agencies with a focus on China. From the launch day Cathay Communication already covers 60 countries and is part of Cathay Group, which already offers legal advice, IP rights, financial and investment advice – and now also communication and marketing.
Our experience with international networks so far has been that they rarely bring value. Partly because they all deliver the same offering, and partly because most of them are decentralized, and thus do not have much internal drive. But when you are asked by a network with a clear focus, a central marketing strategy and a concept that has not been seen before, we jump on the wagon right away.
China at the center
The foundation of for Cathay Group is based on the economic development in China. In brief, China has undergone the evolution it has taken the west 50 years to reach, in only 5 to 10 years. China moves at an incredible pace.
Here are a few facts:
- In China, there is virtually no cash trading. Most Chinese use mobile payment, which is primarily delivered by two apps. The apps even offers integrated solutions to pay for travel tickets, in shops, e-commerce and from person to person as we know it from Mobile Pay.
- E-commerce has already reached beyond the larger cities and into rural areas. Many villages now see e-commerce stations instead of shops.
- Between Shanghai and Beijing – roughly the same distance as between New York and Chicago – there are 35 daily high-speed trains. The trip takes 3.5 hours. There is one daily departure between New York and Chicago and the trip takes 13 hours.
- The archetypal Chinese tourist (the large group following a guide with a flag) is about to phase out. It is far more individualists and families who travel out. Just as we know it from ourselves.
- Bikesharing, Ridesharing, Mobile Payment, E-commerce, streaming services and social platforms are widespread phenomena in China – the difference is that the penetration goes so much faster than in the west.
At the same time, China is in the process of changing from copying Western technology to developing its own. To speed progress much is done by buying Western companies and importing know-how, however there’s no doubt the Chinese are beginning to do by themselves. Just look at Huawei today compared to just 5 years ago.
In short: We predict that in five to ten years, a much larger proportion of reputable brands and consumables will be of Chinese origin. Therefore, the Chinese will be in need of local knowledge and local execution outside China.
BRI and UK / US so what
For those who unaware, China has launched a large-scale plan called Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to establish fast and stable relations from China and into the rest of the world. BRI means China makes huge investments in the construction of ports, railways, roads and bridges. The BRI is also called the new silk road. The map is already laid and the road leads through Russia to Europe and through India to the Middle East and Africa. This is where China really sees their potential for growth. And this is exactly where Cathay Communication has prioritised the effort, both in relation to the diplomatic relations in China and in relation to the choice of the first many agencies in the network.
We recently met with the network in Budapest, and it was interesting to note the absence of the traditional Anglo-American focus. Cathay Communication is covered in US / UK by a 250-man agency from Poland specialising in e-commerce and online marketing that has its own offices there.
At the same time, Cathay Group has learned, that if you in China can put a “BRI mark” on your activities it’s far easier to get funding and immediate official support from government, municipalities and organisations in China. The BRI project is a first priority in China – where Denmark and the Nordic region are just at the end of the western Europe route. Add China’s massive investments in Africa into the equation and the strategy begins to look bullit-proof.
An entry for Danish companies
Of course, the network also works the other way around for companies or organisations that want to invest in China or may already be present, but need qualified help to tackle the difficult Chinese market in other areas than “just” marketing.
We are far from experts in China and Chinese conditions, but we can facilitate the contact, and we can of course help in establishing strategy and messages so that they also resonate in a Danish or Nordic context.
Lats but not least, we can also use the network outside the Chinese context and thus have access to local expertise, tools and execution from media agencies, digital platform developers, e-commerce, marketing and communications experts in the rest of the world.
A solid foundation
Cathay Group in China includes Cathay Associates with four offices in China and one of China’s largest IP-protection companies, Sinofaith Group, which counts more than 1,000 employees, and has strong contacts with both the Chinese government as well as Chinese municipalities and regions.
Cathay Communication has so far two agencies in China, which besides traditional marketing also counts the firm Fireworks, a digital agency specialising in WeChat applications.
In addition, Cathay Communication has a solid team that centrally coordinates the network’s sales and marketing activities, which is a huge strength compared to other networks.
Cathay Communication is new, but is already taking its first new business tour in China. In the coming months, an app will be launched with curated investor news from the silk road to Chinese companies, the website will be updated and further new agencies will be included.
From our side we expect to contribute with more insights and knowledge from the Chinese market. And soon, hopefully, the first clients.
Stay tuned. Or contact us today and hear about the possibilities.