One big café

There’s anonymity in crowds. The urban cacophony of Shanghai creates a wall of sound that absorbs everything. It’s pleasant, like a big café. And with a population of 24 million citizens, you never have to worry about onlookers, because you’re likely to never see them again. When someone cuts you off in traffic, there’s no […]

Read More

Western brands in China: hits and misses

(Originally posted on Seventy-Magazine.com) Western companies looking to expand their business often underestimate the competitiveness of the Chinese market. Often, what stands in the way of success is a lack of understanding on what Chinese consumers value and how they shop. But then there are some that have done their research, made local partnerships, made […]

Read More

The false start of QR codes in the West versus China

(Originally posted on Seventy-Magazine.com) Around ten years ago, when you used a urinal in a popular bar or cinema in Europe, chances were you had an advertisement poster in your view, with a big QR code in the lower right corner. Western marketeers used the QR code primarily to redirect people to their advertisements or […]

Read More

Contextual China

(Originally posted on Seventy-Magazine.com, and in Dutch on Marketingfacts) When we think about China, we often reduce nuances to black and white absolutes. Either China is a country with oppressed people and smog-filled skies, or it is the juggernaut that will inevitably rule the world’s economy. Neither of these views is particularly useful, and rather […]

Read More

Modern luxury in China: no more same old bling

(Originally posted on Seventy-Magazine.com) With 300 million rich Chinese consumers, China’s takes an 8.9% share of the global luxury market — although it’s probably more if you consider Chinese tourists who buy luxury products outside of China. On the surface, luxury advertising in China is similar to that in the West. There are all the […]

Read More

A list of simple solutions

I’m a simple guy and I like simple things. I like books that are easy to read, wine that is easy to drink, and insights that I instinctively know are true. I grew up in a small town and never went to university, so maybe I’m just too dumb to understand why some advertising proposals […]

Read More

Colours of Tmall

This is just for fun, ok? A big part of my job in Shanghai revolves around e-commerce, especially Tmall — which owns over half of the online retail market in sales volume. So browsing through Tmall on a daily basis, I couldn’t help but notice the vivid colours, and how they’d create interesting swatches. It started […]

Read More

Tap the mind to grasp the enormity of change in China

The mind is a mysterious place. We can never fully understand what goes on in the mind of someone else. We can never see and feel what others think or feel. Nor can we ever share our own thoughts and feelings without first translating them into words or actions, by which they’ve lost most of […]

Read More

Nuance

(This was later also published on China Daily.) In moving to China, what surprised me most is the lack of a culture shock. Sure, Chinese history, language, culture, food, media and smartphone usage, and tons of thing are very different — and on my website I’ll continue to write aplenty about other peculiarities. But the […]

Read More

Henk Sneevlietweg metro station

97 years ago today, the Communist Party of China held its first congress in Shanghai, to unify its branches across the country and plot its course through history. It was in fact a Dutchman, Henk Sneevliet, who had urged the Communist to gather for a national meeting. Sneevliet, also known as ‘Maring’, was a seasoned socialist […]

Read More