China will recover from downturn by 2010, survey of top marketers suggests

2 April, 2009


Shanghai – China’s economy will shake off the effects of the world economic downturn and return to a booming and vibrant state by 2010, a survey presented to one hundred multinational and Chinese company senior executives at The Marketing Group of China’s (MGOC) second event in Shanghai reveals today.

The group commissioned leading market research company, Millward Brown-ACSR, and a global communications agency, Hill & Knowlton, to interview 59 CMOs and senior marketing directors to gauge their attitudes on how they were responding to the crisis in China.

The data collected showed that a mood of cautious optimism exists in marketing departments, with 75% of those interviewed believing the economy would turn around by 2010. The respondents indicated that China would recover more quickly as it was experiencing the crisis in a different manner than the West, whose consumers had been affected on a more serious and fundamental level than Chinese consumers.

The findings also revealed that marketers were exploring alternative and perhaps more cost effective media channels in 2009, with a marked interest in digital media and in store communications also being evident.

However, with pressure to cut costs mounting in boardrooms across the globe, marketing budgets are being tightened, with the survey showing that smaller, focused marketing channels were being cut. Jason Spencer, the managing director of Millward Brown-ACSR's Shanghai office, warned that this tactic could ultimately be self-defeating from a long-term perspective.

He said, "The survey shows that marketers claim to be cutting down on lower reach channels such as sponsorship and events, which may be somewhat short-sighted especially if they are looking to connect more strongly with their current customer base, as only such targeted channels can.”

Spencer explained, “The key is to first align the communication objectives and then figure out which media touch point can deliver that most effectively. What may seem cost effective at first may not always be in the end.”

David Zhao, managing director of leading communication consulting firm Hill & Knowlton's Shanghai office, said, “Our survey shows that whilst marketing cuts are hard to avoid in the current climate, firms need to be aware that lowering the priority placed on getting their message across could have damaging consequences in the long term.”

Zhao added, “Indeed, the findings show that the necessity for effective communications, whether for brand exposure, staff engagement, or internal communications, is even higher during times of economic crisis. In particular, I believe that companies willing to spend on Corporate Social Responsibility during these challenging times can deliver their desired message in a more powerful manner than would be possible during brighter economic conditions.”


About Marketing Group of China (MGOC)
The Marketing Group of China is an invitation-only club created especially for top marketing executives from major Chinese companies and multinationals operating in China. It provides a unique platform for the industry’s best marketers to share ideas, concerns and best practice via face-to-face and online meetings. The Marketing Group of China is founded by Hill & Knowlton and The Kantar Group in October 2008.

About Hill & Knowlton
Hill & Knowlton is a leading international communications consultancy, providing services to local, multinational and global clients via 73 offices in 41 countries, and an extensive associate network. In 2009, Hill & Knowlton celebrates its first quarter century in mainland China, having opened its Beijing office in 1984. We also have offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong and affiliates in other major cities. For more information, please visit www.hillandknowlton.com  

About The Kantar Group
The Kantar Group is one of the world's largest research, insight and consultancy networks. Our four major operating companies in China are MillwardBrown, Research International, Oracle Added Value and TNS. Each company has its own expertise. We help clients make better decisions through deeper understanding of their markets, their brands and their customers. For more information, please visit www.kantar.com  

For more information, please contact:

Cameron Wilson
Telephone: 021-51097070
Email: Cameron.wilson@hillandknowlton.com.cn

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