Space Race 2.0, The Global Battle for AI Superpowerdom

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Image via South China Morning Post

In recent years, China has emerged as a major contender in the global race to use AI to spur economic progress. If developing AI technology is the 21st century’s answer to the space race, then China is the player who has a laser focus on becoming the world’s preeminent AI superpower. Automating workplaces with AI could add 0.8 to 1.4 percentage points to GDP growth annually, and that’s just the beginning of how economically and socially impactful the all-encompassing AI revolution could be for China, and the world.

According to Goldman Sachs, there are four key areas where development is needed to create value in AI: talent, data, infrastructure, and computing power. China already has the first three, and is poised to maximize its potential in computer power. In the realm of data generation China has a huge advantage. With a vast and largely m-internet savvy population and a high degree of Internet penetration throughout the country, China is expected to produce 20-25% of global digital information by 2020, up from its current 13%. Many say that data is the “lifeblood” of AI, and with its massive volume of data, along with superior lines of coding and its large pool of talent, China is nicely positioned to adroitly leverage its data stores to develop and advance its AI capabilities.

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Data Localization, Cybersecurity, and What It All Really Means for China


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“In China’s view, data originating from China ought to be kept inside China’s borders because it is not safe elsewhere, period.”

Josh Horwitz

Effective June 1st, 2017 are new regulations mandated by Beijing which require increased protocols with respect to data transfers together with an increased degree of data localization.  This will have notable implications for foreign enterprises operating within the Mainland.  

Essentially, within certain parameters, companies deemed “network operators” or “critical information infrastructure operators” (CIIOs) will be required either to store user data within China, or to export that data to China.  The new measure not only extends the frontiers for cybersecurity law in China, but also demonstrates a growing trend regarding the sovereignty and global significance of digital data.  

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Chinese KOL Landscape


Image via Business of Fashion

As our global marketing economy becomes increasingly intertwined with influencer marketing, where sharp focus is placed on key individuals and their connection to a specific audience rather than the old fashioned approach of directing broad attention toward a large target market, a greater and greater allocation of budget and branding considerations is being directed toward these clout-wielding digital denizens worldwide.

Brands such as Revolve Clothing, platforms like rewardStyle, and agencies such as Digital Brand Architects (DBA) and ParkLU have all been at the forefront in engaging this nascent sector.

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Hollywood, China, and the Future of Chollywood

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Image via The Great Wall Official Site


“It might indeed be the case that Hollywood tentpoles increasingly are catering to Chinese tastes, yet Chinese taste long has been molded by Hollywood, which ultimately sells American, not Chinese, dreams.

Dr. Ying Zhu

In an age of all too rapid digitization, China and Hollywood have officially begun their cooperational tête–à–tête, trying to best figure out the way that these two very different, very distinct and very divergent economic powerhouses can work together on the socio-cultural front and produce quality entertainment for, essentially, the global audience.

Let’s start with the good news. Both sides seem to have the best intentions and a genuine desire to partner effectively. The not-so-good news is that, at least for the moment, this blockbuster rapprochement is still very much a work in progress and many kinks and operational procedures need to be ironed out. Thus far, no movie from the joint efforts has resulted in a product that has received global acclaim, both financially in terms of revenue and critically with respect to industry opinion.

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VR in China


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VR (Virtual Reality) is booming in China, to say the least. According to China research firm China Skinny, “Virtual Reality” was the number one tech term searched on Baidu, China’s most popular search engine, in 2016. Furthermore, the VR market in China is anticipated to reach a value of $860 million by the end of 2016, and a projected value of $8.5 billion by 2020. However, there has yet to emerge a market leader for a sector with such an enormous potential value.  

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Western Expansionism: The Success of Sephora, The Missteps of Marks & Spencer


For many Western brands, especially those of the retail orientation, China represents a potential gold mine. However, more often than not, companies opt for expansion strategies that are not adequately tailored to the local Chinese market. The result? In the quest to win over the cash-rich and consumption-hungry Chinese shopper, the foreign entity often ends up spending more than they gain. For instance, Britain’s massive e-tailer ASOS closed its China operations this year at the hefty price tag of 10 million pounds. So, the question remains, what makes or breaks a Western brand’s success in China?

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Single’s Day 2016: Smashing Records Once Again


“Shopping has become entertainment,” Alibaba Chief Executive officer said during the star-studded gala leading up to this year’s biggest retail event, Single’s Day. The ever-growing Chinese shopping festival, also known as 11/11, shattered records again this year, coming in at a total GMV tally of $17.8 billion (RMD 120.7 billion).

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