Sony and Ericsson create mobile game for new Stephen Chow film

Other news in Greater China

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Sony Pictures and Sony Ericsson create mobile game around "CJ7" film
HONG KONG--Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) is partnering with Sony Ericsson to launch the world's first movie-inspired motion-sensing mobile game in conjunction with the Mandarin-language feature film “Cheung Gong 7 hou,” also known as “CJ7.”

The game is pre-loaded in Sony Ericsson's K850i Cyber-shot mobile phones in Asian markets such as Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. It will also be launched in Hong Kong through the SmartTone service provider and in mainland China through a deal with Monternet, China Mobile's mobile WAP portal, said Andy Chang, SPTI's Hong Kong-based executive director, marketing, Asia.

"We started global mobile entertainment division in 2006. This area is a key point for us, building a mobile business that involves our television and movie properties like Spider Man, Charlie's Angels and James Bond as well as stand-alone products, like a mobile version of the Sony PlayStation game God of War," said Mr. Chang.

The SciFi comedy, about a poor Chinese laborer who learns important lessons after his son gets a strange new toy pet, was created by Stephen Chow, the actor, writer and director behind the 2004 hit “Kung Fu Hustle.” Players take on the role of caretaker for CJ7, seeing to its daily needs and take on various adventures with the alien pet. Consumers can play CJ7 without using a handset keypad. Instead, they shake the handset to control the direction of movement.

The game features a cutesy creature from the film, as well as cartoon versions of the characters played by Mr. Chow and Xu Jiao in the special effects-laden film. SPTI also created wallpapers, ringtones, video ringers and video clips based on and from the movie.

“The high penetration rate of mobile phones in Asia presents us with a growing market for our branded movie and TV-based mobile content,” said Rosemary Tan, SPTI’s director, mobile entertainment, Asia, in Hong Kong.

Red Bull picks JWT Beijing to support Chinese expansion strategy
BEIJING--China Red Bull Vitamin Drink Co., Ltd, the Chinese distributor of Red Bull, has moved the strategic and creative advertising business for the energy drink to JWT, Beijing, following a pitch against the incumbent, Ogilvy & Mather, and McCann Erickson. OgilvyOne will continue to handle digital marketing for Red Bull in China in the short-term but that business is also likely to move to JWT this year. Media remains with WPP’s GroupM unit Maxus.

Red Bull was created 40 years ago in Thailand and is now sold around the world, making it one of the most successful brands created in Asia. China has become one of the largest markets for the energy drink. Red Bull operates bottling plants in Beijing and Hainan and has established more than 30 branches and 100 representative offices across the country to distribute three products, a 250 ml original drink, a 250 ml taurine-enhanced drink and a 180 ml concentrate.

The drinks are popular with a variety of consumers in the mainland seeking an energy boost, ranging from nightclub dancers who consume it as a cocktail mixer to students pulling all-nighters ahead of important exams to long-distance truck drivers. In China, Red Bull is also popular among white-collar executives facing lengthy hours in the office.

“Red Bull is already an incredibly popular drink in China,” and the company has plans for rapid expansion in all of Asia including mainland China, said Tom Doctoroff, JWT China CEO and area director, North Asia in Shanghai.

“Red Bull is dominant in its category, they are definitely leaders in this category, as lifestyles in China change and the need for energy drink gets higher and higher. Consumption of Red Bull here is growing fast, so the company wants its communication to catch up with market trends,” added Oliver Xu, general manager at JWT, Beijing. A new campaign is expected in April that Red Bull hopes will expand Red Bull's positioning beyond a narrowly positioned energy drink to a broader platform.

Red Bull is already moving in this direction. Late last year it partnered with MTV to sponsor the Viacom music channel’s first “Unplugged” series for Chinese audiences. Two MTV–Red Bull Unplugged concerts featured Pu Shu at Star Live in Beijing on Dec.r 15, 2007, and Yu Quan at Absolute House in Shanghai on Dec. 22. Both artists performed an acoustic set before a live audience of 1,200. The events were broadcast to 1 billion viewers through MTV China’s 24-hour channel and syndication through the end of January.

MTV’s Unplugged series “is considered by fans to be some of the best live concerts,” said Wang Rui, general manager of China Red Bull Vitamin Drink Co. in Beijing. “We believe this music can inspire people to achieve their potential energy.”

Last year, Red Bull also signed a deal with EDS, a global technology services provider, to enhance its customer relations management system in China through sales forecast and channel inventory functions, Mr. Wong said. “Red Bull's sustained growth in China over the last decade and our ever widening distribution network requires us to increase efficiency in our business processes while keeping costs down in an increasingly competitive marketplace."

Growth of China’s ad market slowed to 9% in 2007
BEIJING--Advertising expenditure in China totaled $43 billion in 2007, excluding internet and new media spending, according to CTR Market Research.

That's a 9% increase over the previous year--less than the growth of recent years and well below China’s official GDP growth rate of 11.4%. The growth rate of China's ad market in 2006 topped 18% compared to 2005. The mainland still fared better than the world’s largest ad markets. The U.S. ad market grew only 0.2% last year, while Japan continued the negative growth of -0.8% in the first nine months of 2007.

Television spending in the mainland grew 12% last year and continued to attract the most advertising, with a 74% market share. Spending on radio, newspaper and traditional outdoor media grew more slowly or even declined at 9%, -1% and -5%, respectively, compared to 2006.

The mainland’s falling growth rate is not a cause for concern, according to Tian Tao, Beijing-based VP of market research at CTR, a joint venture between CITVC and TNS. Many advertisers in China are reserving money for 2008, when China will host the next Olympic Games, he said. “We're fully convinced that China's advertising market will be even more exciting in the year to come due to the emerging new media and the rapid escalation of China's consumer market.”

New-media spending in China, meanwhile, has continued to explode. Advertising on the internet grew 48% to $1.6 billion, while spending on ads airing on LCD screens in commercial buildings reached $1.05 billion last year, giving those new media a 4% and 2% share, respectively.

Among the major ad categories, ad spending on cosmetics and toiletries grew by 3%, pharmaceutical advertising by 9%, and household appliances ads by 13%. China’s auto industry continued to show rapid growth, particularly for economy sedans and high-end SUVs. Spending for those two sectors grew by 33% and 75%, respectively.

Inbound and outbound travel in China increased significantly over the past year, helping tourism-related advertising rise 16%. Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries were the preferred outbound locations among Chinese residents, many of whom opted for tour packages with personalized itineraries.

IKEA appoints Ogilvy & Mather in China
BEIJING--IKEA has consolidated its creative business in China with Ogilvy & Mather, and will work with the WPP Group agency’s below-the-line arm, OgilvyOne and Ogilvy PR, in Beijing. The win follows a pitch against Euro RSCG and Saatchi & Saatchi--both IKEA agencies in China until recently--and TBWA Worldwide. Ogilvy will provide consulting and creative services in areas such as digital communication, direct marketing, in-store communication, print and public relations.

Just Gold appoints M&C Saatchi
HONG KONG--Just Gold Co./Just Diamond Co. has selected M&C Saatchi as its creative agency following a pitch in Hong Kong against the incumbent, Leo Burnett. The company is a member of the Hong Kong-based Henry Jewelry Group, a chain of gold and diamond jewelery retailers with stores in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Macau and elsewhere in Greater China.

It has expanded in the mainland largely through its ability to transform traditional gold and diamond jewelry from occasional wear for the elite, or an outdated product connected to the tastes of grandparents, into everyday fashion for modern Chinese women.

Strong KFC sales in China lead KFC to strong 2007 growth
SHANGHAI--Yum! Brands worldwide system-sales growth topped 8% in 2007, driven by record new-unit growth in mainland China. The company reported a 30% increase in operating profit in China, offsetting a 3% decline in the U.S.

Yum's KFC division has consistently beaten main rival McDonald’s Corp. in China, a market where consumers historically prefer chicken over beef. The company has also succeeded in localizing menus and establishing a strong distribution network. Yum's Pizza Hut division has become a popular hangout for young Chinese in tier-one and tier-two cities.

Worldwide same-store sales increased more than 4%, led by 17% growth in mainland China, where the company opened 471 new restaurants last year. In 2006, Yum opened 364 outlets in China. This year, it plans to open about 425 new sites.

“Building leading brands in China in every significant category” is one of the company’s four key strategies, said Chairman-CEO David Novak in a company statement.
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