City of Eternal Spring

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KUNMING--The capital of Yunnan province in the southwestern corner of China, Kunming’s history dates back over 2,400 years due to its location on the Silk Road, which facilitated trade between China and Tibet, Sichuan, Myanmar and India. Today, the city is still the province’s political and economic center as well as its hub for transportation, technology, and especially tourism. In October 2006, Kunming even hosted the China Advertising Festival, which is located in a different Chinese city each year.

Although the city’s downtown business district is thriving, Kunming is primarily known to Chinese and foreign visitors alike for its rich culture, attractions and pleasant climate, which has earned it the nickname, “City of Eternal Spring.” It is driving distance to popular tourist sites like Dianchi Lake, one of the largest freshwater lakes in China, and the Stone Forest, an impressive natural landscape filled with enormous rocks. It is also an easy transit point to one of the most beautiful towns in China, Lijiang. In fact, many people believe that the Shangri-la referred to in James Milton's Lost Horizons was located near Lijiang.

Yunnan borders Vietnam, Laos and Burma, which has turned Kunming into China’s cultural melting pot. The province is home to 26 distinct ethnic tribes such as the Yi, Bai, Miao, Dai and Hani.

The diversity has made Kumning residents “very open-minded, and a trendsetting city for southwestern China,” said Mao Yan, planning director, Ogilvy & Mather, Shanghai.

Kunming people are “full of self-confidence,” noted Rebecca Feng, managing director of Bates Asia's office in Shanghai. “However, it is not xenophobic. The different ethnic groups have learned to respect different lifestyles [and] tourism is making the city more internationally oriented.”

Its geographic location has had some less positive consequences, however. Located in Asia’s Golden Triangle--and far from the central government in Beijing--the city is a hotbed for smuggling of weapons and ammunition, drugs and even cars. As a result, this small, second-tier center is one of China’s top five cities in terms for car ownership.

The ownership of VCD players (72%), radios (49%) and karaoke machines (31%) in Kunming is also relatively high for China, according to Nielsen Media Research. DVD player ownership is also becoming popular, with an ownership rate of 22%, near that of tier one cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

“Kunming is an interesting place,” said Mr. Mao wryly. “People in the deep southwest can get away with a lot of things.”

In other ways, Kunming is still a country town full of tea shops serving the Puli leaves grown in Yunnan province. Only 64% of its residents own a mobile phone, a low figure for the mainland, and PC ownership is just 30%.

“Like its temperate weather, Kunming people are very relaxed and easygoing compared to those in China’s busy coastal cities. They don't have high per capita income, but this doesn't stop them from enjoying life their way-- cheap, good and fun,” said Yang Ke, general manager of Publicis Worldwide in Guangzhou. “Kunming is the city for my retirement.”

Fast Facts: Kunming

Population: 5.085 million
GDP (2005): $13.4billion
Adspend (2005): $0.54 billion
Adspend (2004): $0.45 billion
Year-on-year increase: 16.7 % (based on NMR’s media coverage expansion)
Adspend as a percentage of GDP (2005): 4.03%
No. of TV Households: 1,503,000
Avg. min. viewed per day per viewer of all channels (aged 4+): 204.04
Basic cable subscription cost (per month): $1.77

Average cost of 30”spot during prime time on Yunnan TV 2 City, the city’s most-watched local channel (based on rate card value):
18:15-18:30 - $1,038
19:20- 20:20 - $1.578.1
21:01-21:24 - $1.721.5

Top 10 brands by ad spend on TV (2005)
1. Xian-Janssen Pharm (pharmaceuticals)
2. Kunming Medicine College (education)
3. La Fang (shampoo & conditioner/ toothpaste)
4. Jiang zhong Pharm (pharmaceuticals/cough & cold prep)
5. Gai Zhong Gai (Chinese tonic/vitamin)
6. China Kunming (travel/accommodation)
7. Huang Jin Da Dang (Chinese tonic/vitamin)
8. Yunnan Baiyao Pharm (pharmaceuticals)
9. Colgate (toothpaste/oral hygiene)
10. Houdy (shampoo & conditioner)
(Local channels only, based on rate card.)

Top 10 advertising categories on TV (2005)
1. Professional Services
2. Tonic & Vitamin
3. Shampoo & Conditioner
4. Chinese OTC
5. Cough & Cold Preparation
6. Toothpaste & Oral Hygiene
7. Stomach Medicine
8. Skin Care
9. Laundry
10. Coffee /Tea
(Local channels only, based on rate card.)

Top 5 Local Channels by Ad Revenue
1. Yunnan Satellite TV
2. Yunnan TV 2 City
3. Kunming TV 1- Variety
4. Kunming TV 5 - Movie & Drama
5. Yunnan TV 6 - News&Variety

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

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