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Social Media Portal interview with Laure de Carayon from China Connect InTheCity

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 31 May 2013

SMP Q&A with Laure de Carayon about China Connect InTheCity

Profiled interview with Laure de Carayon, founder of European French and Chinese conference China Connect InTheCity

China Connect InTheCity banner imageSocial Media Portal (SMP): What is your name and what do you do there at China Connect InTheCity?

Laure de Carayon (LDC): Iím Laure de Carayon, founder, CEO and organiser of China Connect and China Connect InTheCity

SMP: Briefly, tell us about China Connect InTheCity  (for those that donít know), tell us about your masterclass conference?

LDC: China Connect InTheCity is produced by China Connect, the European conference on marketing and digital in the Chinese region.  Itís a premium rendezvous aiming at deciphering Chinaís cultural, marketing, communication, creative and media environments, with a special guest and a workshop with a major Chinese digital player.

SMP: Why has it been named ĎInTheCityí?

LDC: Above all, I needed to distinguish it from the main rendezvous, the annual two-day conference in March. It sounds more Ďconfidentialí. I didnít think for long, it came in a second.

SMP: How was it born and what does it strive to achieve?

LDC: It was born a couple of months after China Connect 1st edition, 16-17 June 2011.  Summer 2011 was broadcasted on Dragon TV (satellite) in China, a first of its kind ad funded reality TV show called 'Beauty Academy', funded by Sephora China, a major French cosmetic selective distribution network. It was directed and co-produced by a French national, Alexis de Gemini, whoís known as the father of reality TV in France (he launched the concept, with Endemol 'Loft Story' in 2001).

In parallel, brand(ed) content is my field of expertise, I wrote about brand content in China September 2010 (which has led to the launch of China Connect).  So, all-in-all it was really worth sharing the experience.  China Connect InTheCity first edition, was born November 2011.

A year later, October 2012, I launched the 2nd edition with Tom Doctoroff, APAC CEO of J.Walter Thompson (WPP). I invited him for his book entitled 'What Chinese Want'.

I read his book and visited him at JWT offices in Shanghai July 2012, to do a video interview. Tom has been in China for +15 years, heís one of the most knowledgeable admen in the APAC region.

Hereís the '60í Inside' below.

Baidu comes third in June 2013. Itís the first worldwide search engine in the Chinese language and the fourth Chinese brand recently released in the BrandZ Top50 'Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2013 Report'.

So what it strives to achieve, as you can notice, is both inspire and educate on a broad range of topics, via leading companies on key business activities, thanks to strong personalities and expertise. Each speaker in their field is a recognised talent, professional and/or personality from a group of top-level executives.

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

LDC: The target audience is marketing and digital media people and the cursor depends on the topic highlighted:

- In 2011 (Alexis de Gemini and Sephora France) for the first edition, there were a few brands, rather producers, agencies and consultants.  Among them, my now production partner Zorba Group, that is opening an office in China Summer 2013.
- In 2012 (with Tom Doctoroff), we focused on the evolving Chinese society and its implications on marketing brands in contemporary China.  Many brands (B2B and B2C that did not attend China Connect before) including research institutes and digital players attended. Both beginners and experts.

- For Baidu, it will likely be a mix of brands and players in localisation marketing, SEO, SEM etc.

Photograph of Laure de Carayon, founder, CEO and organiser of China ConnectSMP: Tell us about the China Connect InTheCity conference when and where is it located?

LDC: Itís Thursday, 27 June 2013 at La Maison de la Chine - 76, rue Bonaparte, 75 006 Paris, France.

SMP: The conference is quite soon after the China Connect conference held from 28-29 March 2013, so how is this conference different?

LDC: First itís shorter, one day versus two. We focus upon a problem or topic, spending more time with a single player, to go beyond the big picture. Many topics deserve a longer pause, attention, than the one we can (choose to) give in a two-day conference, with +20 speakers.

Then timing is of course key in the topic and speakers choices.  Baidu canít be overlooked in China.  The timing is also good, because something is happening in the Chinese search market.

SMP: What do you hope attendees will take away from the masterclass conference and what do you think will be the highlights?  

LDC: First highlight - itís happening ;-).   Seriously, I hope people realise from now, the opportunity it is, to meet this company and their top executives.  They can save time, and money! Then, I hope Baidu will be generous in its answers and the contributions of Altima Asia and Datawords will contribute to challenge the debate for the benefit of all. They are very excited to come, so am I. I look forward to a great day.

Then, talking just Ďentertainmentí, Kaiser is the founding guitarist of the band Tang Dynasty, China's first and most successful Heavy Metal band.  Iíd like him to play live once itís over! ;-)

SMP: How did you and Baidu to come and guest speak at the conference?

LDC: I met Kaiser Kuo in September 2011 at Baiduís headquarters in Beijing, and did a video interview (I canít show it at the moment because my hard drive crashed and I need to get it fixed!). I called him a couple of months later as I wanted Baidu to speak at China Connect 2012, but the topic I was interested in, was not their priority if they were to speak abroad. However, the moment would come ÖI called him back mid-February this year, he immediately said yes.
Then of course he knows a lot of my contacts and friends, so he can easily check what they think of China Connect!

SMP: Whatís Baiduís interest in attending and participating with China Connect InTheCity?

LDC: I see a couple of reasons. Last September, Baidu announced a deal with Charmclick (they are speaking on 27 June) as their official European reseller in Europe. Competition is coming from a Chinese new player (Qihoo which caught +10% market share in less than a year), for sure, it impacts their business. Consequently, brands have an Ďalternativeí, they didnít have since Google withdrew from the Mainland in 2009. Itís probably a good moment for Baidu to share what theyíre up to, in addition to connecting in real life with French clients and prospects.

SMP: What sort of subject matter are you expecting Baidu to cover in addition to search?

LDC: Itís an ĎInside Baiduí Day. Weíll cover the entire ecosystem - from innovation, to international expansion, from recent acquisitions (video site PPS) to mobile ambitions etc.)

SMP: Baidu has recently made news with an acquisition of a video service, what sort of impact do you see developments like this having upon Europe and further a field?

LDC: We havenít seen impact yet from Chinese players and what they have upon Europe. Baiduís ambitions would be in Brazil and Egypt. Perhaps Thailand first, then later more markets in South East Asia and Latin America.

SMP: Best way to contact you and China Connect InTheCity?

Hashtag for China Connect InTheCity conference #chinaconnect
Twitter @ChinaConnectEU
Sina Weibo

Read the SMP profiled interview with Laure de Carayon about China Connect in the SMP events section.

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