CEO Adviser: Eastern Exposure

Historically, marketing ideas and trends have traveled west across the Pacific. 

In this digital era, things may be changing. With mobile marketing, it’s time to see what’s traveleing from the Far East to the West.

This wouldn’t be the first time we could see the future by looking to Asia. 

I recall seeing a presentation by the Japanese wireless company DoCoMo at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Surprisingly, nearly all the people in DoCoMo’s presentation were shown texting rather than talking on their phones.

At that time, texting was virtually unheard of in the United States. Now, for most of us — and certainly for my kids — it’s the preferred way to communicate.

In a similar way, by looking at China, we can see both our future and our past. All eyes were on China when Alibaba recently launched the largest IPO in history. Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma calls online shopping “a lifestyle” in China. Almost three-quarters of digital buyers in China say they prefer shopping online to traditional retail outlets. A MasterCard survey found that nearly 60 percent of Chinese online shoppers made purchases via smartphone. In fact, China is massively mobile. It’s the largest smartphone market in the world. Ditouzu, which translates roughly as “the lowered head crowd,” is a term invented in China to describe those who are addicted to their mobile phones.

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