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Website to Provide “Actionable News” on China for Business

CHICAGO – A Website news service about China was launched here last month to provide “actionable information” about China to global business interested in the Chinese market.

“We are targeting any business interested in entering China or already in the market,” marketing director Ann Joachim said. “They could be in the US or around the world. We have had a lot of visitors from Asia, India and Europe.”

For now the site, www.ChinaOnline.com, is free and open to the public, a “common approach” to building a loyal Website following, Joachim said. A subscription campaign will start later this month, she added.

Pricing will vary from $600 a year for individual subscriptions up to $100,000 for two years for companies. Packages will be tailored to local-area-network (LAN) and wide-area network (WAN) users.

Marketing the new service is anchored in the Website itself. “We are building one-on-one relationships with our Website visitors” who are contacted once they have given names and addresses.

In addition, China Information Services, LLC, the Chicago-based parent company, is using direct mail and other DM techniques in the US to arouse potential subscriber interest.

“We've done some print marketing and some fax campaigns,” Joachim said. “We've done announcements and press releases.” ChinaOnline uses lists but information on them is proprietary, she said.

“We've used both list brokers and built our own list,” she added. But direct marketing is only used in the US, while the site is a global vehicle to win customers.

ChinaOnline uses 40 media outlets in China as information sources and a group of analysts in the US “who are qualified experts to comment on the information” drawn from government, business and academe.

Material comes in Chinese and is handled by an in-house group of translators and editors that CEO Lyric Hughes built up over the 20 years she has been active in China with a sister company, TLI International.

An international communications company, TLI was instrumental in bringing the first super bowl telecast to China as well as handling a number of communications consulting jobs.

News on the Website ranges from the general – Clinton's China trip last month got exhaustive coverage – to the specific, e.g., a range of industry news from automotive to telecom.

ChinaOnline will also commission original research from Chinese journalists and analysts on key business topics, and provide consulting services to fill specialized subscriber needs for information outside regular coverage.

“We have a consulting arm that will handle customized consulting for companies that want to explore joint ventures or distributorships and do the due diligence on a potential partner in China,” Joachim said.

She declined to give a ball park figure for the cost of such research, saying it depends on the complexity of the research clients require. “Price will depend on how much work we have to put into the research.”

While no similar general Website on China news is on the market, US business interest in China has prompted more companies to enter the information market.

Thus last May Frost & Sullivan, an international marketing consulting firm that specializes in IT and other industrial trend studies, opened an office in Beijing.

“Many of our clients, old and new, have expressed strong interest in the Chinese market and need help in making strategic business decisions,” the firm's Asian research director, Aroop Zutshi, said.

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