“Exposay” Report Shows Shanghai Expo Tickets Hot Topic of Discussion

Non-sponsor Sina is the brand attracting the most online buzz

SHANGHAI, 4 February 2010 – The opening ceremony may still be months away, but World Expo 2010 Shanghai already features as a focus of intense discussion within China’s thriving Social Media platforms. Ticket prices, ticket promotions and ways to purchase tickets were the hottest topics in December 2009.

“China has one of the world’s highest levels of engagement within Social Media, with brands featuring in many discussions,” said Sam Flemming, Chairman and founder of CIC. “Anyone looking to truly understand Chinese consumers – and the digital world that is so important to them – can find no better place than Social Media.”

Launched today by Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and CIC, an Internet Word of Mouth (IWOM) research and consulting firm, ExpoSay is a monthly report on Chinese-language IWOM – or Social Media buzz – related to World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

“This report’s findings show how China’s netizens are already discussing many aspects of Shanghai Expo, from tickets to pavilions to sponsors,” said Thomas Crampton, Asia-Pacific Director, 360° Digital Influence, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. “Chinese consumers can make or break brands online, so listening is the first step to developing a powerful strategy to engage them.”

Data Behind the ExpoSay Reports
The ExpoSay Report looked at 128,854 Expo-related comments taken from 13,994 blogs, BBS, news and SNS sites in the Chinese Internet space in December 2009. Topics covered included tickets, sponsors, pavilions, countries and cities.

Where Discussions Are Taking Place
BBS (bulletin boards) were the most popular platform to discuss Shanghai Expo, followed by blogs. As mainstream social media channels, these two platforms accounted for 68% of the total buzz. Comparatively, news articles only accounted for 20% buzz share, followed by other online channels such as video and community-driven Q&A sites such as Baidu “I Know” (the Chinese equivalent of Yahoo! Answers), which contributed to only 12% of total buzz.

  • 10 websites contributed 22% of overall Expo buzz
  • Sina blog was the biggest buzz contributor, followed by Baidu Tieba and Sohu blog
  • Among the top 10 websites, 9 were social media sites such as BBS, Blogs and Video sharing sites. Xinmin.cn was the only news site in the top 10.

The Hottest Topic in December 2009: Tickets
Ticket-related topics were the subject of most online Expo chatter in December and phrases about “what to buy” and “how to buy” the tickets became the most popular keywords.

The increase of ticket prices to 150 RMB from 140 RMB announced in mid-December brought predictable criticism, but also some interesting responses.

Some companies, such as the e-commerce site yihaodian.com, have started offering their customers tickets at the lower, initial price. Even Shanghai’s Jing’an district is offering tickets as incentives for those touring historic Communist sites. This has served as a high-profile, attractive and relatively low-cost promotion.

Meanwhile, students are using Social Media to self-organize to purchase tickets at group discounts, and many people are discussing the technology behind the Expo’s mobile phone-based tickets. Netizens living in rural China have been using discussion boards as a way to find tickets.

Buzz About Sponsors and Competitors
2010 Expo Global Partners such as China Mobile, General Motors, Bank of Communications and State Grid accounted for almost 50% of buzz among all Sponsors.

At the same time, non-sponsors were the subject of more than 80% of total Expo-related buzz, due primarily to content contributions from Sina, Sohu and Netease, all of which are major Chinese portals and competitors of Senior Sponsor QQ.com. Notably, non-sponsor Sina was by far the most discussed brand around the Expo as a result of its significant amount of Expo-related reporting and campaigns.

Buzz About Cities & Countries
Among the city pavilions at the Expo, Taipei overtook Hong Kong as the second most discussed city in December following an announcement that pop singer Wang LeeHom had been named goodwill ambassador for the Taipei Pavilion. Guangzhou held the top spot and Ningbo and Macao came in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

USA overtook Japan to be the most mentioned country in the same period as news of movie star Jackie Chan’s imminent appearance on a Shanghai World Expo float in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California on New Year’s Day broke in December. Rounding out the top five countries garnering the most buzz were France, Canada and the UK, in that order.

Other notable findings from the report include:

  • Starting in November, Shanghai Expo was the subject of more than 15,000 posts per week, with buzz peaking in the second week of December after the announcement of a ticket price increase from January 1st, 2010.
  • American NBA star Kobe Bryant expressed his desire to attend the Shanghai Expo on his Sina blog which then received 86,378 visits and 1,384 comments in one week. This is expected to drive scores of fans to the Expo.

For more information, please contact:
Sarah Guldin
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
sarah.guldin@ogilvy.com
Tel: (8610) 8520 6552

About Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (www.ogilvypr.com) is an integrated global marketing communications firm, with offices in more than 70 cities around the world. We blend proven PR methodologies with cutting edge digital innovations to craft strategic programs that give clients winning and measurable results. In its 28th year, Ogilvy PR provides strategic public relations counsel to a variety of clients across its 360 degree digital influence, consumer marketing, corporate, healthcare, technology, public affairs and social marketing practices. The agency also offers biotechnology and government affairs expertise through its subsidiaries Feinstein Kean Healthcare and Ogilvy Government Relations, respectively. Ogilvy PR is a WPP company (NASDAQ: WPPGY, www.wpp.com) one of the world's largest communications services organizations.

About CIC
As China’s first and leading provider of Internet intelligence and insights based on IWOM (Internet Word of Mouth), CIC provides customized research consulting services, syndicated reports, as well as technical solutions and platforms to help companies meet their business and marketing needs. Since coining the term IWOM in 2004, CIC has pioneered the industry by supporting strategic planning and innovations across the entire spectrum of communications including brand reputation, business intelligence, product development, advertising, media, campaign planning and execution all via an objective, third party perspective.

Utilizing its patent pending text mining technology and analytic tools, CIC makes sense of over 46 million naturally occurring consumer comments every month. CIC gathers these messages from a range of uniquely Chinese social media platforms including blogs, BBS and social network sites and applies its unique China derived methodology and indexes to provide a detailed and comprehensive picture of online discussions and their implications. CIC has analyzed and archived well over 1.5 billion mentions of brands and products from well over 1 billion consumer comments.

CIC has built and maintained strong, long term retainer relationships with multinational agencies and Fortune 500 companies such as Nike, Pepsi, Intel, L’Oreal Group, BMW, P&G, Unilever and many more.

Contact: Sarah Guldin
Date: February 04, 2010
Office: Shanghai