Wednesday, September 8, 2010

China Adventures

Kia ora,

I’ve decided that it might be fun to intermittently write a few paragraphs about stuff that’s happening at Gibson Group behind the scenes. People normally only see the programmes or the visitor attractions and don’t often know what we are up to behind the scenes.

So a big topic first up. China!

We’re making a concerted effort here on a number of fronts.

You may already know we have a drama series called ‘Goldrush’ in development with producer Mr Qi Lin of Beijing and associated company HuaYi Brothers for several drama series. Ours is planned to be a massive 30 hour series and is currently being written by Chinese writer Wang Lei with Kiwi writer Briar Grace Smith.

We’re also targeting some lifestyle shows for Chinese television in the areas of food, wine and travel and things are moving rapidly on these.

Recently myself, Stephen Richardson, our Business Development Manager, and Eric Zhang, our Head of China Projects, were part of a Wellington mayoral delegation that visited China. Our local newspaper The Dominion Post seems to regard these trips as junkets with an apocryphal story about a councillor wondering if business with China couldn’t be done on the phone!

Anyway, we found the presence of the Mayor incredibly helpful and she co-hosted a fantastic cocktail function for us at the NZ Pavilion at the Expo in Shanghai.

NZ Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010
Apart from our actual business meetings and connections in various cities, one of the most memorable moments for me came at the Expo.

We had visited the Australian Pavilion, which is fantastic and was getting a great response from the mainly Chinese crowd. My colleague Eric asked one of the Chinese schoolteachers which stand her pupils had found memorable.

Australia's Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo

 Estonia was the answer… “Very hi tech and cool!”

On our way ‘round the Expo we stopped at the Estonian stand, where fortunately the queue wasn’t that long. Outside was an old fashioned sign with several salient facts about Estonia, including the information that Skype was invented in Estonia and that two supermodels came from Estonia.

Outside the Estonian Pavilion... note the guy with the loudspeaker
 Things weren’t much more hi tech inside either and I was somewhat puzzled about what had attracted the Chinese students to the stand. Was it perhaps the giant piggy banks scattered about the place?

Inside the Estonian Pavilion with giant piggy banks... what the??
 Then we noticed in one corner a smallish monitor, with a camera incorporated, where a crowd of young Chinese were recording themselves for playback on a larger monitor up on the wall. Hardly earth shattering technology, but incredibly absorbing and exciting to the students.

There’s no doubt, based on the responses we saw towards the terrific Australian multimedia display and the rather average Estonian screen in the corner that Chinese youth have a massive appetite for group interactive displays similar to what we developed for Te Papa in Wellington and what we have just opened in Copenhagen

It’s going to be a very fast growing and exciting market!


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