Many Japanese companies produce products that are known and respected in China, but they still suffer from less-than-stellar sales due to public image problems. Chinese consumers are increasingly concerned about the quality and safety of products, whether they are produced locally or overseas.
Hakuhodo's service, created to help companies understand and handle public opinion issues in China, was created specifically to work with Japanese companies, which face additional challenges in the mainland. The divide between Japanese corporations and Chinese consumers drew attention in recent months when factory workers at plants run by Japanese car makers like Honda Motor Co. went on strike for better conditions and wages.
Tensions between China and Japan aren't new and often have little to do with Japanese companies. They reflect flare-ups in anti-Japanese sentiment in China that can be traced back to World War II, when China was brutally defeated by Japanese invaders.
Hakuhodo's service will analyze how Japanese companies are portrayed by local media and offer advice on working with local journalists and engaging in corporate citizenship activities.
Hakuhodo told Ad Age China it "hopes to sign at least five service contracts" for the new service this year.
Most recently, he was CEO of Havas Group's MPG division in Greater China, also in Beijing. Before that, he was based in Singapore where he founded XS-Media, Asia's first online media trading platform. He has also worked at Aegis Media's Carat division in Asia/Pacific.
Mr. Smith previously worked as chief operating officer of OgilvyOne in Asia and more recently as president of Ogilvy's Red Works operations in the region.
Spokespeople at Shanghai Volkswagen, contacted by phone, wouldn't comment on the incident. Mr. Liu had been general manager since October 2007, according to Xinhua News Agency. Liu previously worked at units of Delphi Corp and ArvinMeritor Inc. in Shanghai.
Shanghai Volkswagen, Volkswagen AG's car venture with SAIC Motor Corp., was China's second-biggest carmaker, excluding multipurpose vehicles, in the first half of 2010. Sales grew by 36% in the first six months to 415,796 units over the same period last year, according to China's Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
She will work with RAPP's data analyst team as well as planning teams at DDB and Tribal DDB, developing CRM strategies for marketers such as Diageo, Philips Electronics and Volkswagen. Previously, she was a data analyst at Wunderman, Shanghai.
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