By Yingzhen Chen, Junior Project Manager - PR & Communications
As Chinese technological innovation has been growing at an impressive rate in recent years, it has prompted a new wave of new media innovation that is redefining the Chinese media landscape. From April 1-5, swissnex China had the pleasure of organizing a 5-day Chinese digital media study trip for an executive delegation from Tamedia 20 Minuten, for the purpose of better understanding the new media ecosystem in China, discuss and exchange best practices with their Chinese counterparts, and have a deep dive into China’s latest innovations.
Taking part in the program were Marco Boselli, Editor-in-Chief of 20 Minuten, Gaudenz Looser, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of 20 Minuten, Mike Jenke, Head of Product of 20 Minuten and Mike J. Herter, Head of Innovation of Tamedia.
On April 1, the first day of the program, Dr. Felix Moesner, Science Consul and CEO of swissnex China, welcomed the delegation to China and gave a brief introduction to the Tamedia delegation on the research and innovation landscape in China, and what the swissnex China team does to connect the dots between Switzerland and China.
Afterwards, two members of the delegation visited Ximalaya (Himalaya), the leading audio and podcast sharing platform in China. The representatives of Ximalaya introduced their innovative audio ecosystem, including its content production and distribution process, podcaster university and business model, and they had an in-depth discussion on content distribution innovation.
Concurrently, the other two delegation members visited Shanghai Daily, the largest English-language newspaper in Shanghai and second largest in China, started its digital platform SHINE in October 1999. The executive representatives shared their respective experiences on digital transformation in the news industry.
In the afternoon, the group visited Yitiao, one of the most influential short-video new media in China focusing on lifestyle, fashion and art-focused content, providing daily quality videos and articles and targeting the Chinese middle class. The editors of Yitiao showed their studios, post-production rooms and a ‘kitchen studio’ exclusively for their food channel Mei Shi Tai.
For the last stop of the day, the group visited Pear Video, a leading news video platform founded in 2016, with 30k approved freelancers across China and globally, generating 1k videos every week. All the videos are fact-checked and quality-controlled internally. Pear Video recently launched Commonly as its English platform on Weibo.
On the second day, the group was invited to visit the College of Arts and Media of Tongji University in Jiading. The Vice Dean and professors welcomed the delegations and guided them on a comprehensive campus tour. The group visited various research facilities of the college, including fundamental labs and specialized practice labs in animation, interactive media, visual effects and electronic media etc. It was an insightful opportunity for the delegation to establish an overview of Chinese new media ecosystem from the academic side, at one of the first-tier new media colleges in China.
In the afternoon, the group continued their tour by transferring from academia to the latest practices in the industry, to grasp some ideas on how the traditional media dealt with their innovation. Yicai (China Business Network), China’s largest and most comprehensive financial media group owned by Shanghai Media Group (SMG) welcomed the delegations, guided them to their news rooms, studios, product department, among other facilities. Within the affiliate network of Yicai, there are Yicai TV, China Business News, YiMagazine, Yicai New Media Tech，Yicai Global, Yicai Radio, Yicai Forum, Yicai Research Institute, Big Data, Lujiazui Financial Herald and etc.
After Yicai, the group visited International Channel Shanghai (ICS), the foreign language cable channel of SMG, which started producing 10 o’clock English news in 1986. The representatives from both companies shared their insights in the new media innovation.
After exploring the latest digital innovation in the media industry in Shanghai, the group started a new chapter of the tour in Beijing, the capital city of China which is home to many headquarters of technology, media companies and startups. Taking the Renaissance EMU high speed train at speeds up to 350km/h, the delegation arrived in Beijing on April 3 by travelling 1318 kilometres in 4.5 hours.
The first stop in Beijing was the Kuaishou HQ (Kwai on the international market) and Acfun. Kuaishou is the largest social video sharing platform in the world with more than 700 million registered users and more than 100 million daily active users who upload over 10 million videos everyday. Kuaishou encourages users to share their stories in ordinary life. By applying AI and big data, Kuaishou enables machines to have a deeper insight into users, to understand their behaviour data in boosting the video production, understanding and distribution, at the same time presenting a diverse and down-to-earth community. Acfun is a popular Chinese video sharing website among the animation, comic, game and novel audiences, it was acquired by Kuaishou in 2018.
In order to obtain an image of the China start-up culture and innovation in a nutshell, the group visited Innoway, China’s No.1 Hi-tech landmark of start-ups, created by Beijing and Haidian District. The mixture of investor offices, show-room, start-up cafes and “incubators” located in Beijing’s tech-heavy Zhongguancun. Since June 2014, Innoway has incubated over 1,900 Startups, with more than 222 international ventures. 743 Startups successfully received investments, accounting for 9.104 Billion RMB. The representatives of Innoway introduced the group about Innoway projects and organized a networking dinner with some startup founders.
On April 4, the group visited the Phoenix International Media Center, the new headquarter and broadcast center of China’s largest private broadcaster Phoenix TV. With the Phoenix Chinese Channel, the Phoenix InfoNews Channel, the Phoenix Chinese News and Entertainment Channel which broadcasts in Europe, the Phoenix North American Chinese Channel, the Phoenix Movie Channel and the Phoenix Hong Kong Channel, Phoenix TV reach audience excess of 360 million worldwide. Wang Shu, the architect of the Phoenix International Media Center, received the 2012 Pritzker Prize for his ballooning torus formed by a twisting lattice of steel surrounded by glass. It was extremely interesting to visit the building while being guided through Phoenix TV’s studios, news rooms and exhibition arena in this artistic pavilion.
The delegation also visited iQIYI, an innovative market-leading online entertainment service in China launched in 2010. The average mobile monthly active users of its mobile app is 565 million, ranked No.1 in the Chinese online video streaming platform, also the No.3 among top Chinese apps. iQIYI’s comprehensive entertainment ecosystem provides users with services including e-commerce, comics, literature, gaming, movie ticket bookings and short videos. The representatives of iQIYI introduced their business, content production and distribution model, IP ecosystem as well as AI-driven technology. By applying technological innovation such AI, Dolby Atmos, 4K and adaptive bitstream, iQIYI built up system on video intelligent creation, production, tagging, distribution, play, monetization and customer service.
Last but not least, the group paid a visit to Plug and Play China in Zhongguancun, to obtain deeper insights into the start-up and investment ecosystem in media-related field. Plug and Play China had built up the largest innovation platform bridging startups, investors and blue chip corporations globally. The delegations exchanged creative ideas on case studies in different industries such as VR and advertising.
swissnex China was honoured and delighted to receive the Tamedia executive delegation, providing them with an overview of the landscape of the Chinese new media and innovation ecosystem and opening a dialogue for potential bilateral Sino-Swiss collaboration. We would also like to express our great appreciation to the companies mentioned above for the warm welcome and their precious time in presenting the companies.