Business Publisher Has Designs on China

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Through its Business Media Asia operation, VNU Business Media launched Contract China -- the first VNU publication to be unveiled in the country.

The bimonthly magazine focuses on commercial interior design and architecture. It contains no residential design.

"This process started almost two years ago, and it seemed perfect to launch it now after our annual trade show," said Jennifer Busch, editor in chief of parent magazine Contract, New York.

Contract China will have a controlled circulation of 17,500, reaching prequalified names from national and regional architectural and design institutions. The magazine also will be distributed to personnel in the global Fortune 500 corporations operating in China and the Fortune Top 10 Chinese companies.

"There were conversations at the corporate level to expand our brand into China because it is becoming such a booming market," Ms. Busch said. "Their top industry right now is design and construction, so we felt it would be the best fit for their market."

The magazine publishes twice more this year, in October and December. Depending on the response, it will have six or nine issues next year.

Contract China will draw contacts from leading trade shows owned by VNU Exhibitions Asia in Shanghai. Chinese resources such as Domotex/China Floor, R&T Asia, Hospitality Design Asia and Shanghai Design Week will be incorporated into its marketing strategy.

China's interior design industry has 550,000 employees.

"Our mission is to present design as a tool to advance business," Ms. Busch said. "We feel there is a great need for information on how to grow businesses and match that with design."

The magazine will feature case studies, directing attention to international and regional projects that can offer Chinese designers insight from peers from an international perspective. Editorial also will include comments on industry issues, best practices, new products, materials and technology, continuing education for designers and professional marketing advice on promoting a designer's own practice.

"We are the only publication in China that is specifically focused on commercial design, so we have no competitors yet," Ms. Busch said.

A complementing Web site for Contract China is under development.

"From our perspective in the U.S., we very much welcome the chance for global extension and to strengthen our brand," she said. "We feel we can really have an impact on design and elevate our position as a whole."

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