Innovation is a part of everyday life in China

China has moved from imitation to innovation. Its companies have dedicated years (and large sums) to challenge global technologies and practices,  creating their own world-class brands and digital services. We’re seeing this innovation every day in areas such as ecommerce, mobile-gaming and social messaging. And, the pace of innovation is quickening as the Internet of Things brings new opportunities for companies and brands. According to analysts, China is tipped to jump from 70 million connected devices or machines to over

330 million in 2020. The numbers are staggering. What’s truly impressive, however, is how businesses are infusing their innovation efforts with a more sophisticated understanding of Chinese consumers or audiences, who are ready adopters of the latest technologies and services.

China’s mega digital and tech companies stand out in their conviction and passion, and the speed at which they move into untapped opportunity domestically and, increasingly, internationally.

So, does this mean the West is now looking to China for inspiration? Will we see a realignment in the power structure of the global technology industry?

This month’s cover story on China Innovation (page 40) finds there may be some way to go. Our report looks at the success China has had in reinventing business models, but also investigates how the market is tackling issues critical to data and measurement. The industry has adapted its own methods to data, with agencies and marketers often relying on exlusive partnerships with the big three (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) for data innovation.

As economic jitters in the mainland market continue, our team of reporters find that China’s marketers remain cautiously optimistic, while many of the country’s homegrown brands featured in this issue appear to be bucking the trend. Industry experts note that consumers are still spending, but there’s no question that brands need to work harder and smarter to reach them. Our full coverage on China Innovation is online at

Atifa Silk is brand director, Campaign Asia-Pacific