This blog is part of our Building a Global Mindset series to help communicators increase their own cultural awareness and global perspective.
CEC members often talk about the challenges with communications strategies in China – anything ranging from understanding the culture, to working with local agencies to identifying the influential media players, to building the company brand in the market. This interest in China is hardly a surprise as many companies either operate there already and are learning from their mistakes, or are considering entering emerging markets for new sources of growth (and especially China, which is the fastest growing among them, and one of the most important global economies at the moment).
China remains a challenging environment to do business in for many western companies, as Chinese culture and the socio-political nuances of the country are very different from home markets. Arguably, the Chinese PR landscape is one of the trickiest aspects for a communicator. As part of CEC’s A Communicator’s Guide to China, we looked at some of the key trends in the PR industry there, including:
3 Trends about PR in China
- Government-Controlled Media: Media in China is still heavily controlled by the government and the press has very high restrictions on what it can publish (China ranked 171st out of 178 countries in the worldwide index of freedom). This means that a pre-requisite to media relations is “playing nice” with the government.
- Complex Stakeholder Environment: Many of the stakeholders you will need to engage with are also heavily influenced by the government (e.g., state-owned enterprises or NGOs controlled by the government), so you will need to shift your stakeholder engagement tactics.
- Questionable PR Practices: Tactics like paying for positive coverage or paying PR firms to remove negative stories happen quite often, so you need to be prepared to screen your agencies to prevent such practices.
CEC Members: Check out our full Communicator’s Guide to China for recommendations on how to navigate these PR trends, as well as further resources on China.
What challenges have you experienced in handling PR in China, and how have you dealt (are dealing) with them? Please share your thoughts/tips in the comments box!
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