This article was written by Or Avni who traveled to Shanghai on behalf of Harrenmedia to take part of China Joy 2016.
China Joy 2016 is behind us and we had a great business and cultural experience. The unpredictable weather didn’t stop us, and thousands of other attendees arriving at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, along with over 600 companies showing the latest in entertainment and technology.
This is one of the world’s most significant digital entertainment exhibitions. Held in Shanghai, this year marked the 16th edition of this breathtaking trade show, which, on this edition, featured innovations both in software and hardware, as well as hundreds of exhibitors from the entertainment, digital, gaming, and advertising businesses, among others. And Harrenmedia was among this select crowd.
China is almost the only place in the world where you arrive at a conference and see that English is not the common language for business. There were lots of booths on which representatives were not English speakers, and while that was certainly an obstacle, it was not actually a bad thing. Due to the language and cultural barriers, there weren’t many Latin American and European companies present in the event, which made it an even a better opportunity to do business with companies focusing only in the Asian region. We were lucky to have our own Or Avni, who is a fluent Chinese speaker, at the event: “I felt so lucky that I studied the Chinese language and culture for 3 years at the University, and had amazing experience exploring the Asian market, where I met current and new potential partners”.
The Chinese Digital Market
This Asian market is one of the most attractive in the world when it comes to the digital business. In spite of its very different ecosystem, in terms of popular sites, apps, and advertising platforms, and even as the country’s economy is slowing down, the Internet sector is soaring at a very fast pace. According to eMarketer, in 2016, digital ad spend will reach $40.42 billion, a 30% growth since last year. Mobile ad spend is also growing fast, and will exceed $27.3 billion this year, $10 billion more than in 2015.
In terms of mobile usage, China behaves like a highly developed market. According to GSMA, two thirds of all mobile connections in the country belong to smartphone users, this mean, modern mobile phones are the most important tool the Chinese use to access the Internet. In this context, it shouldn’t be surprising that mobile video is growing as an advertising platform, and is expected to expand 44.6% this year. By 2020 this form of advertising will account for more than $9.15 billion in advertiser spending. Display ads on mobile are also growing, albeit at an average of 25% year over year.
And while these figures are impressive, the country still has a long way to go in terms of growth, as only 48% of the population had a mobile subscription as of 2015, which means there are over 600 million potential customers still disconnected from the web. And with Chinese smartphone manufacturers producing handsets at prices that, on average, are half of that charged by other OEMs elsewhere in the world, and yet 70% are equipped with 4G antennas, which means connectivity in the country will keep on rising fast.
This means there are big opportunities for digital advertisers in this soaring digital market. We hope that the conference was the beginning of a very long love story between Harrenmedia and the Chinese market.