FYI 11.05.08

Nestle Opens $10.2M R&D Center in Beijing; CCTV Launches Spanish Channel; Baidu Tests C2C Platform; Turner Appoints Lucien Harrington

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Nestle has opened a $10.2 million research and development center in Beijing to focus on basic research and product development in China. Food safety and quality will be the main focus of the center, Nestle's second R&D facility in China and its 24th worldwide. It will also work on nutrition and life sciences research, food technology, processing and packaging and the benefits of traditional Chinese ingredients.

Food safety and quality has become a high-profile issue in China involving every stage of product development, from ingredients to packaging material. Milk products tainted with the chemical melamine have killed at least four Chinese infants and injured tens of thousands more in recent months. The resulting scandal has involved several local and multinational companies, including Nestle.

Last month, the Swiss company was forced to pull products like Neslac, a powdered milk product for young children, from stores in Taiwan in a spat with health officials, and in South Korea, the company had to withdraw a batch of mini Kit Kat bars made in China. Other food giants such as Unilever, Heinz, Cadbury and Mars have also been affected by the scandal.
China Central Television, or CCTV, has launched a Spanish-language channel in Spain to promote cultural awareness and understanding about China there and eventually in other Spanish-speaking countries.

The 24-hour channel is available on Telefonica de Espana's Imagenio IPTV platform and airs news as well as content about culture, special reports and local TV series.

CCTV hopes to connect with more people who speak Spanish, one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world, as part of a global PR strategy to improve the country's public image.
Lucien Harrington
Lucien Harrington
Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting System has appointed Hong Kong-based Lucien Harrington to a newly created position, VP-branding and communications, Asia at its entertainment arm, Turner Entertainment Networks.

Mr. Lucien will help develop brand and communication strategies for Turner's entertainment portfolio in the region, including Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, POGO, Boomerang and interactive entertainment content in Asia.

Previously, he was managing director of Advertisingplaza.com, a Hong Kong-based Asian virtual market for advertising space and services.
Baidu.com, one of China's leading internet search providers, has launched a beta version of its consumer-to-consumer platform, Baidu Youa, an online shopping system through which merchants can sell products and services at Baidu-registered stores.

The customers, driven to these stores primarily through Baidu's market leading search engine, will be able to use a Baidu-branded online payment system, BaiFuBao, to make purchases. BaiFuBao was created in-house by Baidu's research and development team and is ready to be used on the C2C platform.

The C2C platform provides user-friendly shopping with emphasis on customer service, said Jun Yu, Baidu's VP of products. "Our expansion into China's early-stage e-commerce market is a natural move for Baidu as Chinese netizens are becoming more comfortable shopping online."

In the preliminary testing stage, 10,000 sellers were selected from over 100,000 applications to become the first merchants on Baidu Youa. Meanwhile, 50,000 users from Baidu's online community platforms were chosen as Baidu Youa's first customers.


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