CHINA: Micro Blogs – Consumer’s Voice in the Free Market

From every indication, should present trends continue, some wags predict that China is destined to become little more than one big blog.

Everyone knows the political impact of micro-blogs on mainland China. Now they appear to have become the Chinese people’s greatest weapon in fighting corporate injustice.  Such blogs ensure that news of scandal spreads farther and faster than ever before. From the detection of the toxic chemical clenbuterol in pork, to flaws found in refrigerator doors made by Siemens AG, Chinese bloggers have been cracking wise and helping to keep companies in check.  In response, businesses are beginning to watch their backs for fear of questionable activities being exposed.  Debby Cheung, president of Ogilvy & Mather Group Shanghai, stated that “the far-reaching popularity of micro-blogs will have serious consequences for companies and brands operating in China.”  The China Internet Information Center, a branch of the State Council of Information Office, reports that more than 250 million micro-bloggers were operating in China by December 2011 — a 297 percent increase from 2010. 

Some resourceful companies are taking advantage of these blogs by using them to reach consumers and gauge attitudes to improve business.  Eaton Corp, a power-management company, created its own blog in late 2011 to try and communicate with potential customers.  Vivian Xiao, head of corporate communications of Eaton Corp China, believes that “there are huge opportunities for us to use social media networks to capture insights and feedback, share information and build relationships with and among our target stakeholders.”
Who could have predicted such rapid change in the media landscape of the world’s most populous country?

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