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Having just come back from my 8th China trip, I was again impressed by the continued growth and dynamic changes that were noticeable from when I was last there in Jan 2005.

Presenting at the Ad-Tech Conference in Shanghai, I made some really excellent contacts which I will refer to in more detail over the next few weeks.

Today, I want to touch on the incredible volume of Chinese online voices that resonate via bulletin boards, and blogs. In part due to the limited and controlled media, China has always had a strong tradition in tapping “word of mouth” as a way to get the “real story”. Now due to the massive internet growth going on in China .. many of these conversations are taking place in explicit and therefore measurable forms.

Here are some numbers from Sam Flemming the co-founder of CICDATA, a company that specialises in measuring and tracking what the chinese consumer is saying. Here are some stats that Sam presented

103 million Internet Users
40 million Bulletin board (message boards users); (doubled in 6 months)
35.2 million go to Bulletin Board at least once a day
30 million go to Bulletin Board at least twice a day
5 million blogs

China is talking, and these numbers are expected to double by 2008. Lots of the discussion are questions about product or services or recommendations and if you have products or services in China, then you better have a strategy for tapping into these channels.

Here’s a couple of examples Sam presented.
G-fly .. I was born in 7th November of 1988. I am not a kid. I came here to share my photos with skaters, also hope to communicate with everyone about skateboarding. Also I am the leader of the skate-girl BBS in the SKATEHERE forum.

Anti-Japan sentiment runs high China and plays a factor in purchase decisions, but there is an incredible passion for cars such as the VW golf. The “Our-golf” club organised this photo by parking their cars into the word

What is the Chinese consumer saying about your brand? If you don’t know, talk to Sam Flemming and find out? Then you are in a position to create specific Word of Mouth marketing strategies?