Is there anything not made in China?
Toys, clothing and Yao Ming, a former NBA player, all are included. However, there’s one made in the USA and welcomed warmly in China, Jeremy Lin. His legendary rising and inherent connection with China created great opportunities for American business aimed at the Chinese market.
First, Jeremy Lin draws the Chinese audience’s attention back toward topics of the NBA games.
According to one article in NYTimes, “The retirement last year of Yao Ming, a basketball star from mainland China, deprived the N.B.A. of its main Asian draw. But Jeremy Lin’s emergence has at least temporarily strengthened the league as a centerpiece of Chinese online chatter.”
Second, the business quickest to use Jeremy Lin’s image in China will get the benefit.
Another article in NYTimes claims that Jeremy Lin signed a two-year marketing partnership contract with the safest car – Volvo. Jeremy Lin will appear in Volvo advertising in the United States and China, as well as other Chinese-speaking areas in Asia.
Then how well is Jeremy Lin’s image conveyed to the Chinese Audience? Is he as influential as that in the U.S.?
Jeremy Lin is popular enough in China. A blog post in NYTimes shows that Jeremy Lin was the most-searched athlete on the Internet in China, eclipsing Kobe Bryant and the soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, to most Chinese audience, Jeremy Lin is still an abstract symbol. All that the Chinese know about Jeremy Lin is he is a quickly rising Asian-American NBA star. We want to know more about Jeremy Lin as an individual, but not a Knicks’ promotion video with only English subtitles, or Jeremy Lin’s Chinese twitter account which doesn’t plan to interact with us. The Chinese depends more on personal relations than rational thoughts to make their purchase decisions.
I have two suggestions for Jeremy Lin to manage his public image in China.
First, hire someone to manage his social media account, and interact with the Chinese audience as a human. When we compare Jeremy Lin’s social media accounts, we can find his twitter account has around 6 million followers, while his Chinese twitter – account has 26 million followers. Four times larger. So we can see the Chinese form a great potential market.
Secondly, use his relationship with Chinese celebrities like Yao Ming, the most credible third party for him in China. Though Yao Ming failed his math exams in university days before, he’s still a thought leader in China, favored by almost all the Chinese. If Jeremy Lin and Yao Ming enhance their relationship, then Lin will seem more accessible to the public and expand his awareness in China.