As we count down the days to supporting our basketball team, the question that is vital to many advertisers, but also to those who would just like to communicate is – how are we going to learn about what’s happening in China?
Beijing’s blockade is still in effect for many companies, media and social networks, so some are already finding ways to bypass the barrier. FIBA has received a solution for the Philippines national team, but will it really work and what about others?
WHAT IS FILIPINOS’ SOLUTION?
PLDT, the Filipino telecommunications operator and its wireless communications subsidiary, Smart Communications, Inc. will support the Gilas Pilipinas Sports Channel, which is gearing up for the FIBA Basketball World Cup that starts in a few days.
PLDT and Smart have boasted about providing Smart Travel Wi-Fi kits for staff and team members of the Filipino men’s basketball team to help them stay in touch with friends, family and millions of fans while competing abroad.
“We hope to help our national team feel our support by connecting them with family and supporters when they raise our flag on the World Cup stage,” said Albert Villa Real, Commercial Director of PLDT.
Otherwise, one of the three opponents of the Serbian national team in the group stage of the competition in China is the national team of the Philippines.
WHAT ARENA WILL BE MORE TENSE? SPORTS OR BUSINESS
As we count down to the beginning of the World Cup, let’s see why the story about PLDT has a different side? First, let’s recall that more than 200 channels are currently banned or shut down in China. More than 40,000 hours of video have been deleted.
Most Western apps and sites are banned in China, despite the fact that Twitter and YouTube are extremely popular in Hong Kong. Also, the Chinese state and its cyber units have repeatedly attacked the servers of the Telegram application, which is popular with Beijing’s opponents and offers encrypted and secret correspondence.
Will the game in this court be more interesting than that in the basketball court? Where will companies place their ads, how will they be seen, how will they reach their audience? And basically – how will communication happen at all? These are some of the questions that have been hanging in the air ever since the announcement that China would host basketball players from around the world.
Marketing strategy has always been one of the main reasons for a product to succeed or fail. Many companies feel that when they create a good marketing strategy it will be equally successful in all markets. Especially when it comes to sports, it’s clear that companies play where the players are, and fighting in that arena is sometimes more tough than what’s happening among the athletes. This is simply not the case when it comes to marketing in China.
Although it has recently announced that it wants to open up its economy to the rest of the world, China is still fighting and keeping technology and access to online content in a tight grip.
It all escalated in the trade-technology war between China and the US, and Donald Trump’s decision to ban US companies from cooperating with China’s giant Huawei.
HERE’S WHAT’S NOT WORKING IN CHINA
There is an endless list of what has been banned in China, but these some are the most important ones: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapshot. Google – Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Plus. YouTube, Wikipedia. Microsoft Hotmail, Flickr, Blogspot, Pinterest, Dropbox, Vimeo, Tumblr, WhatsApp, Viber, Reddit and Twitch.tv are also banned.
In addition to these social networks and platforms, China has also blocked a number of US and other Western media: the New York Times, Bloomberg, Time, Reuters, the Economist, ABC News, Al Jazeera English and others.
The Chinese and those who visit China can circumvent this censorship by using foreign VPNs (virtual private networks), but that doesn’t change the fact that China’s internet is massively censored and that this primarily affects US companies.
In addition, China has been increasingly taking on VPNs to maintain the censorship that, according to the Communist regime, protects the nation from harmful information.
If there is no Google and no Facebook, and all the other mentioned companies, a logical question arises – what is there?
Censorship and the missing western social networks, as well as a different cultural approach to the internet, have opened the door for Chinese internet companies to succeed, which currently serve nearly 700 million social network users in China.
Some of the most popular Chinese social networks are Weibo, WeChat, QZone, and QQ.
Whether this is too little or quite enough for a global competition will become evident once we add up impressions and points.