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Even Chinese advertisers are competing hard in London

A shuttle bus with a Chinese advertisement is seen in London. Li Xiang / China Daily

Publication Date : 31-07-2012

 

While Chinese athletes are grabbing medals at the Olympic Games, another image of China is floating through the streets of London.

Chinese companies and tourism agencies from major cities such as Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, are stepping up their advertising campaigns in an effort to appeal to consumers and visitors from around the world.

The ads are ubiquitous on London's double-decker buses and taxis. Posters of major Chinese banks and airlines are also on display in the busiest stations of the London subway.

The one that has caught the most attention is an ad by Chinese dairy company Yili, which shows Chinese men and women smiling with the brand's logo and a slogan that reads "ordinary people's extraordinary stories".

While the ad may be hard for locals to decipher, it is symbolic of the company's ambition to increase its presence in the European market and promote a healthy image after the domestic milk scandal.

Meanwhile, Chinese cities, such as Hangzhou, are eyeing the Games as an opportunity to increase global exposure of its sites, such as the West Lake, and woo more international tourists.

Still, Chinese companies are understandably showing less interest in the London Olympics than they did the Beijing Olympics.

Digital media company Crystal CG and computer manufacturer Acer are the only two Chinese sponsors of the London Games.

Industry experts said uncertain domestic and global economic conditions are another reason for the drop in interest.

Also, the cost of Olympic sponsorship has been increasing for global companies, which eye the event as a major marketing platform. Sometimes the cost outweighs the benefits.

The threshold for top-tier Olympic sponsors at the London Games is roughly $80 million, a big increase over the US$60 million price tag in Beijing, according to media reports.

 

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