MAGAZINE

2010 - The menu's looking good!
// Tyl van Toorn / May 5, 2010

 So here we are in 2010 and our first major initiative of the year is out of the gates like a hot pick at the Kentucky Derby. Four weeks from today, players from over one hundred companies, organizations and agencies will be meeting with drinks in hand at the opening party of the 3rd edition of transmitCHINA.

The conference has been moved from its traditional stomping grounds of Beijing to the 2010 host of the World’s Fair; the fast-draw city of Shanghai. The dates are June 2-4, if you haven’t already marked them down. This is going to be two and a half days of very intense meetings, presentations and showcases.  And knowing our notorious host producers, Archie, Nathaniel, Claire and the rest of the team at Split Works in Shanghai, we will be in good hands. If last year’s experience at the transmitCHINA showcase at Yuyintang was anything to measure from, no one will be sleeping much.

And that is just fine. Who has room for sleep anyway?? It’s time to talk about the future and the future looks quite bright.  And so for those of you coming, let’s get on with it and meet up in Shanghai.

Or for those who are a little “punchier,” there are still a few seats on the train for the full transmitLIVE expedition. That’s right.  People who are crazy enough to travel across China with some of Canada’s hottest new bands will be joining us on a six city tour (May 29 – June 5) that takes us through Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, Beijing and Shanghai…in that order. The combined population of these cities is just over 80 million potential super fans, so I suggest bringing a lot of business cards.



And just so we’re clear that I “walk the talk,” I will also be on this run with helmet on and a four point racing harness fastened. Arguably insane, completely exhausting, and the most amazing thing one could ever do. This is not Kansas, folks. This is China and it is unlike any other business culture on the planet.

Totally unique in its business practices and its relationship with other international markets, China defies expectations and pre-conceived ideas (let alone the laws of economic gravity).  While I originally went to get a handle on market opportunities in China, I left learning more about myself.  Trying to develop a working relationship in China is humbling to say the least. To the point where one really comes to terms with how little we understand our new place in the world. The “we” I refer to is “us” Westerners.

After three years of doing projects in China, I feel I am just about ready to start actually learning something. I know this sounds cliché but it’s really hard to explain the opportunities that exist in China unless you go there and it’s really hard to leverage opportunities until you surrender yourself to its ideas and practices.

This doesn’t come easy. Someone recently asked me when I was going take what I learned and actually do something…in China. I was also thinking along those terms three years ago. Sure, we are now developing several business partnerships as a result of our work in China. But, when asked this question, I thought to myself a more important question.  What makes you think that I intend to apply what I have learned in China to the Chinese market place? Wouldn’t it be much more interesting to bring what I have learned in China back home?

And in that brief second of clarity I realized something incredibly important about the process of exposing oneself to non-Western markets driven by non-Western culture and supported by non-Western business practices; our biggest weakness in the West is that we actually believe that our systems, our models and our ideas are better than everyone else’s.

Call me crazy (I am) but I think it is time to get away from the noise of our own market and remove ourselves from our comfort zone.  To be quite honest we are killing our capacity for creativity and innovative thinking when we go somewhere familiar to just “sell.” Real entrepreneurial behaviour comes with being open. It comes with the practice of listening. It’s time to sit down at the roundtable, to share ideas and to be exposed to the ideas of others.

And it is for this reason that I am so excited to be doing the third edition of transmitCHINA. The programme has been in the making for over a year now and I would say that this is probably the most relevant series of questions for the "gloves-off" nature of transmitNOW’s signature roundtable format.

After three years of hard work and tireless commitment the transmitNOW team, the Transmission Advisory Board and our sponsors can proudly say that this project has real legs.  True to our first observations when we started looking at the development of an event in 2008, there is no question that building a tangible, result bearing relationship with China is a long game. transmitCHINA itself is proof of this. We are going into our third year of a five year plan and things are just starting to become clearer, our process more effective, and our outcomes more impactful. We have better relationships and more realistic expectations.

I say this as transmitCHINA itself has been a case study on how to do business in China and it should be perceived as such by everyone who is directly and indirectly involved in it.  The execution of this initiative opens a window on all elements of doing business.

So enough blah blah blah. What is on the menu for this year?

  • We are showcasing more artists in more cities than we have ever done before. This year’s showcase artists are: Ohbijou, Parlovr, Flash Lightnin', illScarett, The Racoons and Wil.
  • We have some amazing sponsors on both sides of the Pacific that are really working to leverage this opportunity in context of a long-term vision.
  • The conference is going to be a major step up from the past two years as we are going to be introducing transmitNOW's signature roundtable format for the first time in Shanghai.
  • We have more Canadian delegates attending than ever before along with quite a few international delegates who have been key in promoting and developing Canadian artists abroad.
  • Keynote speakers include Chinese industry heavies Jun Wu (CEO, R2G) and Kaiser Kuo (Consultant, Youku.com). We will also be featuring several interesting presentations including a once in a lifetime interview of PK14's Yang Haisong by Nic Harcourt of the L.A Times. Chairman of Sire Records and self-described champion of Canadian music, Seymour Stein, will be hosting several mentoring sessions over the days of the conference (June 2-4).
  • Another new element will be at least four B2B focus groups with targeted themes in various cities that transmitCHINA will be touching down in. These sessions will target priority topics such as; “The Evolution of Music Publishing in China” sponsored by the Province of Ontario and the CMPA and “The Focus on the Independent Music Scene” facilitated by Merlin CEO, Charles Caldas. There will also be a specific focus on the unique attributes to Mobile Application development in China. Plus, we have added some feature B2B sessions on innovative thinking and future business models in the digital content world.

At this point in the article I am supposed to wrap it up with a nifty conclusion, but I began to wonder whether anyone actually reads conclusions anymore. So here is the bet, anyone who gets to the end of the this article and calls me on fact that I was too lazy to write the last paragraph gets a free bottle of really nice wine of my choosing. See you all in China!

 

 

And just so we’re clear that I “walk the talk,” I will also be on this run with helmet on and a four point racing harness fastened. Arguably insane, completely exhausting, and the most amazing thing one could ever do. This is not Kansas, folks. This is China and it is unlike any other business culture on the planet.

 

Totally unique in its business practices and its relationship with other international markets, China defies expectations and pre-conceived ideas (let alone the laws of economic gravity).  While I originally went to get a handle on market opportunities in China, I left learning more about myself.  Trying to develop a working relationship in China is humbling to say the least. To the point where one really comes to terms with how little we understand our new place in the world. The “we” I refer to is “us” Westerners.

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// comments

1

We are privileged to be your hosts, and yes, this is part insanity, part discovery, and all opportunity. What TransmitCHINA is doing that is so very interesting is that they are really getting to the heart of the matter. Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong are all relatively Westernized cities - the visits to Wuhan, Changsha and Guangzhou and the contrasts therein will enable bands and delegates to see how quickly China is developing and how far there is still to go.

We hope to see you all soon!

by Archie (http://www.spli-t.com) / May 7th, 2010

2

How can we be part of this in China as a participant ??

by Michael Roy (http://www.michaelroy.com) / August 27th, 2010

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