Seaport graced by proximity to Taiwan

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FUZHOU--Named after nearby Mt. Fu and regarded as a decent tourist spot with attractive mountains, temples, hot springs and the Tomb of Lin Zexu (a famous 19th century statesman), Fuzhou is the center of Fujian province's economic, political and cultural life.

Fuzhou's history dates back to the 3rd century AD, when it became a center of ore smelting, and it has been the political center of Fujian province in China's southeastern coast ever since.

From the Tang (618-907) through Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, the city grew wealthy by exporting tea and has attracted its share of famous visitors. Marco Polo may have passed through at the end of the 13th century and it was the base of Zheng He, China's seafaring eunuch-admiral in the early 15th century.

Fuzhou's more recent notoriety stems from its shipbuilding industry and international port located in the lower reaches of the Min River and the Taiwan Strait, but its heyday is far behind it. Today, the city is known for the rough edges characteristic of a gritty seaport, including relatively high unemployment--4.1%, compared to just 1.4% in Beijing and 2.9% in Guangzhou, based on government figures.

"The people in Fuzhou are not proud of being capital citizens. Compared with other provinces nearby, such as Guangzhou, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai, Fujian is not as prosperous," said Darren Yao, senior planner at TBWA, Shanghai. Even worse, "within Fujian, Fuzhou is not as good as other cities, such as Quanzhou and Xiamen. Quanzhou is richer than Fuzhou and Xiamen is more beautiful."

Fuzhou's younger generation "has aspirations like youth anywhere in China. They look to Shanghai as their goal, but they still have some catching up to do, due to their limited exposure and opportunities," said Shanghai-based Peter Tan, McCann Erickson's national director of consumer insights in China.

"In terms of consumption power, using Shanghai as the high benchmark, Fuzhou is considered at the middle income level. If we consider Shanghai as a Porsche, then Fuzhou is a Dongnan, a local car manufactured by Zhonghua, a Taiwanese manufacturer," he added.

To its advantage, however, Fuzhou still has ethnic and linguistic links to Taiwan, and has benefited from cross-strait investment. Modern development is centered on paper, textile, food and machine manufacturing. Fuzhou remains one of China's prosperous cities--if not its most cultured or glamorous.

Fuzhou's cuisine is justly famous for fresh water fish and seafood dishes plus a special food seasoning closely associated with local soups. The best known local dish is a soupy stew called Fotiaoqiang, followed by lychee-shaped pork and shark's fin wrapped in lotus leaves, traditional fish balls and taro paste.

Fast Facts: Fuzhou

Population: 6.09 million
GDP (2004): $18.65 billion (154.8 billion RMB)
TV households (2005): 412,000
Ad spend (2005): $0.98 billion (8.11 billion RMB)
Ad spend (2004): $0.78 billion (6.44 billion RMB)
Year-on-year increase: 25.6% (based on NMR's media coverage)
Ad spend as a percentage of GDP (2004): 4.2%
Average minutes viewed per day per viewer of all channels (aged 4+): 149.3
Basic cable subscription cost (per month): $1.45

Average cost of 30? spot during prime time on Fujian TV 1, the city's most-watched local channel (based on rate card):
19:00-20:00 - $2,187
20:00-21:35 - $2,158
21:35-22:30 - $2,212

Top 10 brands by ad spend on TV (2005)
1. Rejoice (Procter & Gamble)
2. Oil of Olay (Procter & Gamble)
3. Crest (Procter & Gamble)
4. Fuzhou Taijiang Hospital
5. Fuzhou Fuxing Hospital
6. Zhuomadan Pharm (Chinese OTC)
7. Fuzhou Gulou Hospital
8. Safeguard (Procter & Gamble)
9. Colgate (Colgate Palmolive)
10. Pantene (Procter & Gamble)
(Local channels only, based on rate card.)

Top 10 advertising categories on TV (2005)
1. Professional Services
2. Shampoo & Conditioner
3. Toothpaste & Oral Hygiene
4. Tonic & Vitamin
5. Skin Care
6. Chinese OTC
7. Soap
8. Cough & Cold Preparation
9. Education & Schools
10. Fast food
(Local channels only, based on rate card.)

Top 5 Local Channels by Ad Revenue
1. Dongnan Satellite TV
2. Fujian TV 1
3. Fujian TV - News
4. Fujian TV - Movie & Drama
5. Fuzhou TV ? Movie

Sources: Nielsen Media Research & AGB Nielsen Media Research
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