Home of factories, new money and P&G

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Although the history of Guangzhou, the capital of China’s Guangdong province, dates back 2,200 years, the port city has the ambience of an old-fashioned Gold Rush town.

Located near the mouth of the Pearl River, once thriving with pirates, the city bustles with factory owners and workers and office staff, few of whom are locals. Most have journeyed from all over China to Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton, to profit from its proximity to prosperous Hong Kong and Shenzhen, one of China's special economic zones. It is also the Chinese headquarters for the country's largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble Co.

“There is a Chinese saying: Whether you are from the east, west, north, south or middle of China, go to Guangzhou for wealth,” said Michael Tsang, general manager, Leo Burnett, Guangzhou. The city’s residents are famous for hard work, pragmatism and a gift for investing, but as consumers, they are “causal and unpretentious.”

While Beijingers generally prefer no-nonsense, information-based advertising and Shanghainese go for glitzy production values, their southern relatives value human interest stories, particularly ads that give a modern twist to traditional Chinese fables.

Guangzhou also has the most international media market in China. “They all watch Hong Kong TV stations. Viewership for these channels is at 35%, which tops the charts,” said Zheng Yang, an account manager at Ogilvy & Mather, Guangzhou. Also, Guangdong is the only province in mainland China where the country’s broadcasting authorities have granted legal cable access to a handful of 24-hour foreign-run entertainment channels like the Phoenix Chinese Channel, partly owned by News Corp.’s Star Group.

Considering its long exposure to foreign cultures as an international trading center (it was the starting point of the Silk Road), Guangzhou unsurprisingly offers more Western restaurants, albeit with less panache, than Beijing and Shanghai, China’s other international cities. The city’s ex-pats currently frequent Di Mateo, an Italian restaurant, while the hippest bar is Buddha. However, the city is more famous for Chinese delicacies and snacks like dim sum, rice noodles and moon cakes.

Population: 7.38 million
GDP (2004): $49.59 billion
Adspend (2004)*: $2.28 billion
Adspend (2003)*: $1.89 billion
Year-on-year increase*: 20.7%
Adspend as a percentage of GDP (2004): 4.6%
No. of TV households (2004): 1,328,000
Avg. min. viewed per day per viewer of all channels (aged 4+): 165.6
Basic cable subscription cost (per month): $2.05
*Based on published rate card

Average cost of 30”spot during prime time on Guangdong Nanfang TV- Drama & Movie, the city’s most-watched local channel (based on rate card value): 18:00-23:30 - $1,714

Top 10 advertising brands on TV (2004):
1. Aoqili - Oral Hygiene/ Detergent
2. Oil of Olay - Skin Care /Soap
3. Lafang - Shampoo/Conditioner
4. Liby - Laundry
5. Rejoice - Hair Care/Soap
6. Gai Zhong Gai - Tonic/Vitamin
7. Repand - Shampoo/Conditioner
8. Head & Shoulders - Hair Care
9. Softto- Shampoo/Conditioner/Soap/Skin Cleanser
10. McDonald’s - Fast Food
Local channels only, based on rate card.

Top 10 advertising categories on TV (2004):
1. Shampoo & Conditioner
2. Tonic & Vitamin
3. Oral Hygiene
4. Skin Care
5. Cough & Cold Prep
6. Chinese OTC
7. Professional Service
8. Soap
9. Residential Real Estate
10. Education
Local channels only, based on rate card.

Top 5 Local TV Channels by Ad Revenue
1. Guangdong Satellite TV
2. Guangdong Zhujiang TV
3. Guangdong Nanfang TV- Drama & Movie
4. Guangdong TV- Sports
5. Guangdong Nanfang TV - Satellite
Local channels only, based on rate card.

Sources: Nielsen Media Research & AGB Nielsen Media Research, China

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