How Silicon Valley is losing the Battle for Asia

The majority of the 4 billion people living inside a circle encompassing China, India, NE Asia and SE Asia—over half the world’s population—have not yet grasped the internet, but most of them will have within the next decade or two. How they do so, on what terms, and through which platforms, will go a long way to defining the winners and losers of the next wave of the web, and actually the very nature of the internet itself. So can we ask the question: how well placed are Silicon Valley companies to benefit? The battlefield is a diverse patchwork of countries with distinct languages and cultures, varying degrees of connectivity infrastructure, diverse digital media landscapes, and contrasting political regimes with business environments that range from: mature but essentially open … [Read more...]

The Japanese Advertising Industry in a Nutshell #2

The Japanese advertising industry is not well understood from the outside. In fact, I am not sure it is that well understood from the inside. In a post I published in 2014 called “The Japanese Advertising Industry in a Nutshell” I tried to sum up what makes it unique, the characteristics of the advertising itself, and explain why it has remained dominated by domestic agencies. In the context of my readership the post "went viral", still gets a lot of traffic, led to a bunch of speaking offers, and sparked off a lot discussion among my peers who work in advertising here in Tokyo. From all of this I learned a tremendous amount and it helped to solidify the ideas, and hence this post is an overdue follow up that aims to: Summarise the original article’s assertions Describe the … [Read more...]

“Willing complicity”: what advertisers (and users) really want from social platforms

I was recently asked by Campaign Asia to contribute a comment to the news that Snapchat, the newest kid on the chat-app block, is starting to monetise through advertising. As always happens to my comments, it got edited down, (I am yet to master the soundbite!) so I felt compelled to develop the point I was making and share here. I have pasted the original in at the bottom. 4 or 5 years ago Facebook's strength was seen to be the number of ways OTHER than advertising it could monetise its users, at least from the point of view of tech industry savants and savvy investors. Now, post IPO and obligated to maximises profits for its shareholders, Facebook is riding high on its advertising revenues, comprising over 90% of its total, and the tools it provides to its ad publishers like us are … [Read more...]