China’s young identity market

(Originally posted on Seventy-Magazine.) It’s hard to imagine how different China was only fifty years ago. Chinese people largely dressed the same, ate the same food in cantinas and decorated their homes in similar fashion. Few brands were known, most originating from before the Japanese Occupation, the civil war and the tumultuous 50s, 60s and […]

Western brands in China: hits and misses

(Originally posted on 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 […]

The false start of QR codes in the West versus China

(Originally posted on 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 […]

Contextual China

(Originally posted on, 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 […]

Modern luxury in China: no more same old bling

(Originally posted on 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 […]

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 […]

A Geek in China review

There is nothing geeky about this book. Sure, it describes China in very broad strokes — which may suit total newcomers (Did you know China is the most populous nation on earth?). Christensen’s book comes across as a selection of Wikipedia pages, bundled in a bright softcover with stock photography. And it doesn’t get better […]

China’s media landscape and lessons for the West

Earlier trips to Shanghai already taught me that looking at China with an air of Western superiority is ill-advisable. While rural areas are still developing, urban areas are so far ahead in some aspects that at times, Shanghai felt like science-fiction. In moving from Amsterdam to Shanghai and started as a strategist at Seventy Agency, […]

Ignorant predictions about China

Next Tuesday, I’m taking a one way ticket to China to start as strategist at Seventy Agency Shanghai. For months I’ve been looking forward and preparing for this. Yet there’s only so much I can learn from this side of the fence, and even in China I’m a foreigner and I’m not expecting to be able […]

Young China review

Dychtwald’s writes well and his sentences have a neat flowing rhythm to them, although he jumps from topic to topic — back and forth — and does so even within the twelve loosely-bundled chapters of the book. ‘Young China’ feels like a loosely weaved net of anecdotes, which are rich in detail and probably representative for […]