Ian Chapman-Banks

General manager-marketing for mobile devices in North Asia, Motorola

By Published on .

The challenge Ian Chapman-Banks faced in China when he arrived at Motorola in May 2005 was painfully clear.

Motorola once controlled half of China's handset market, but by early last year it trailed Nokia and was barely keeping pace with Asian brands such as Samsung, Sony, TCL and Bird.

Motorola was the preferred brand only among consumers older than 55 and was shunned by young, urban Chinese who establish trends and who are the big spenders on extras such as downloading ringtones.

Motorola turned to Mr. Chapman-Banks, who's comfortable with new technology and hip brands. Now general manager-marketing and business development for mobile devices in North Asia, he previously ran Microsoft Corp.'s Asia/Pacific home and entertainment division. Before that, he was regional marketing director for Apple Computer.

"China is different from the rest of the world," says Mr. Chapman-Banks, 45. And not just because of its huge size. In China, people pay almost full retail price for phones.

"There is very little subsidizing," he says. "So consumers need a deep emotional bond with a phone brand when they are paying $400, which is easily 10% of their annual income."

He staked out territory left vacant by other brands such as Nokia, which bet heavily on the popularity of games.

"The biggest change was deciding on a brand platform-fashion, entertainment and especially music," says Mr. Chapman-Banks, a charismatic U.K. native.

To turn Moto phones into devices that are experience-driven, earlier this year he launched Motomusic (motomusic.com.cn), the largest legal music-download site in mainland China.

Last August, Mr. Chapman-Banks tapped Asian pop star Jay Chou as Motorola's brand ambassador in Greater China.

"He has a fantastic ability to understand youth culture and hook that into the mobile-phone business so Moto's technology connects with young people and the way they want to use phones," says Keith Smith, Hong Kong-based president-international of TBWA Worldwide, who's worked with Mr. Chapman-Banks.

Motorola also turned out a series of eye-catching campaigns by Ogilvy & Mather that show striking individuals using Moto phones. At the retail level, the company is improving consumer experiences in more than 2,800 cities.


* Has helped Motorola double share to 22%

* Goal: To be No. 1 in time for Beijing Olympics
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