Lenovo teams up with the NBA

And other news in Greater China

By Published on .

BEIJING--Lenovo Group, a Chinese producer of personal computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices, has signed a global marketing partnership with the National Basketball Association.

Lenovo, which bought IBM Corp’s PC business for $1.75 billion in late 2004, becomes the official PC partner of the NBA with marketing rights in the U.S. and China. The NBA will integrate Lenovo products into all facets of league operations.

An Olympic sponsor with aggressive overseas expansion plans, Lenovo hopes the deal will expand its brand recognition internationally. Although it has the rights to use the IBM logo on its PC products until 2010, it is eagerly building its own brand overseas. Basketball is becoming a preferred marketing tool among Chinese companies, given the sport’s longtime popularity in China, where American missionaries introduced it early in the last century.

For the NBA, the alliance enhances its use of new technology and statistics. Lenovo will deploy ThinkPad, ThinkCentre and Lenovo 3000 notebook and desktop PCs courtside in all 30 NBA arenas to record data and statistical information for more than 1,300 NBA games throughout the regular season and playoffs.

The computer company also created Lenovo Stat, a plus/minus statistic that will look at the point differential when players are both in and out of the game, to see how the team performs with various combinations. The statistic will identify the best two-player, three -layer, four-player and five-player combinations for each game, or over an entire season.

P&G to resume SK-II sales in China
GUANGZHOU--Procter & Gamble will resume SK-II sales in mainland China in the next few weeks, following a statement by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and the Ministry of Health regarding the product’s safety.

Both government offices acknowledged that the risk posed to consumers’ health by cosmetics containing trace levels of chromium and neodymium “is relatively low under normal usage and up to now, no cases of consumer health effects caused by cosmetic products containing trace levels of chromium and neodymium have been justified,” according to P&G spokesman Charles Zhang in Guangzhou.

“They also recognized the fact that P&G has carried out a
complete and rigorous examination and investigation of its manufacturing process and confirmed that the chromium and neodymium are not added during the manufacturing process,” he said.

P&G withdrew SK-II, its high-end skin care brand developed in Japan, from store shelves in China last month amid controversy and negative media coverage. The situation flared up following a report by China's Guangdong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau that claimed some products contained banned substances that can cause skin allergies and other health problems.

While the new findings support P&G’s contention that the products are safe, ad execs in China say the U.S. company faces an uphill battle winning back consumers in China.

AKQA opens Shanghai office for Coke
SHANGHAI--The independent interactive agency network AKQA has opened a wholly-owned office in Shanghai, where its first project is helping Coca-Cola Co. implement its global Olympic initiatives in China. AKQA already has offices in San Francisco, New York, Washington DC, London and Singapore.

WPP buys Chinese interactive agency
BEIJING--WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide has acquired 70% of Beijing Century Harmony Advertising Co., an internet advertising agency based in Beijing with a branch in Shanghai. The five-year-old company employs 93 people and works with marketers like Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the sportswear marketer Li Ning and Yahoo’s China operation, owned by Alibaba.com Corp.
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