Hong Kong of Northern China

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DALIAN--Located at the southern tip of Liaoning Peninsula, Dalian is known as the trading and financial center of northern China. As a relatively affluent Chinese city, it is also the home of many luxury goods shoppers, earning it the nickname, "Hong Kong of Northern China."

Popular with foreigners before 1949, Dalian was occupied at times by Russians, who dubbed it Dalny and linked it to the Trans-Siberian Railway, as well as by by British and Japanese forces. The city was even a battlefield during the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and Russo-Japanese War (1905).

In modern times, Dalian is one of China's most important seaports and a flourishing hub for industry, trading and natural resources. The unemployment rate is below 4%, less than the national average. The standard of living has also improved, said Nielsen's director of client service in Shanghai, Rita Chan. Per capita disposable income rose to $1,540 in 2005, 15.6% higher than 2004, the largest increase in almost a decade.

The consumer price index in 2005 was 101.4, a 1.4% increase from 2004. Television ownership in Dalian is quite high, as 610,000 households have a set at home, according to Nielsen. Dalian residents watch 26 hours of TV a week, one of the highest rates in China.

Dalian is known most of all for tourism. Besides its proximity to China’s coast, Dalian has a pleasant climate with cool summers and warm winters. It is also the home of one of China’s best soccer teams.

With beaches, parks, gardens and a zoo, Dalian is "good for travelers. It is developed and rich compared with other northeastern cities,” said Peter Tan, Shanghai-based national director of consumer insight & market intelligence at McCann Erickson. “Clean and fashionable,” the average Dalian native “would rather wear expensive trousers, even if they can't fill their stomach.”

If Chinese cities were brands, he added, wealthy Shanghai would be a BMW and Dalian “would be more like Mazda, not as powerful but good-looking for young capitalists who care more about the appearance of their car than the quality,” he said.

The city has more stores selling luxury goods than the average second-tier city in China. Their success has boosted retail rents in Dalian to prices comparable to top shopping districts in Shanghai and Beijing. As a result, some marketers like Anta, a Chinese sportswear company, consider Dalian a first-tier city.

Every September, the city hosts the Dalian International Fashion Festival. In 1998, the city gained international fame when Louis Vuitton organized "The China Run," a classic car rally from Dalian to Beijing. It was the largest event organized by the company in China to that point, with 50 classic cars from all over the world making the 1,300 kilometer trek from Dalian to Tiananmen Square.

Fast Facts: Dalian

Population: 5.616 million
GDP (2005): $27.6 billion
Adspend (2005): $290 million
Adspend (2004): $240 million
Year-on-year increase: 17.2 % (based on NMR’s media coverage expansion)
Adspend as a percentage of GDP (2005): 1.2%
Average minutes viewed per day per viewer of all channels (aged 4+): 213.1
Basic cable subscription cost (per month): $1.45

Average cost of 30"spot during prime time on Dalian TV 1, the city’s most-watched local channel (based on rate card value):
18:30 -$1,749
19:20 - $1,988
21:35- $1,749

Top 10 brands by ad spend on TV (2005)
1. Shenhua Pharm (Chinese pharmaceutical)
2. Oil of Olay (Procter & Gamble)
3. Guzhongjin Pharm (Chinese pharmaceutical)
4. Crest- (Procter & Gamble)
5. Tianying (real estate)
6. Colgate (Colgate Palmolive)
7. Dianshichengjin (entertainment equipment)
8. Sanchine Pharm (Chinese pharmaceutical)
9. Shengpeng Pharm (Chinese pharmaceutical)
10. China Mobile (telecommunication)

Top 10 advertising categories on TV (2005)
1. Tonic & vitamin
2. Shampoo & conditioner
3. Toothpaste & oral hygiene
4. Skin care
5. Department store/Shopping center
6. Soap
7. Newspapers/Magazines/Books/Radio/TV
8. Laundry products
9. Fast food
10. Communication equipment & services

Top 4 Local Channels by Ad Revenue
1. Dalian TV 1
2. Dalian TV 2
3. Dalian TV 5
4. Dalian TV 3

Source: Nielsen Media Research
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