Welcome to China Media Strategies


After I returned home from nearly 8 years in Asia last year I was lucky to keep getting freelance work for China-based clients, including a wonderful PR gig that sent me to China multiple times.

One of the most enjoyable parts of my work was holding media trainings for companies in the US that wanted to increase their brand recognition in China. This let me harness everything I’d learned in Greater China over eight years, especially my two years working on the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, to create a training focusing to a large degree on China and its unique challenges. At the end of one training a participant asked me why I wasn’t actively marketing myself as a China-focused media trainer. That got me thinking.

This was the conversation that led to today, the launch day for my new business, China Media Strategies. The best way to see for yourself what China Media Strategies does is to check out the videos that are up over here. (For those of you who’ve wondered what Richard looks and sounds like, here’s your chance to find out.) If you want to hear what my clients and colleagues have to say, check out the testimonials. (No, none of them owed me favors.)

I’ve also started a new blog for China Media Strategies that you can find here (much of this post is cross–posted over there). There will be more to come. The new blog is about my thoughts on current events from the perspective of a media trainer and China watcher. It won’t be about politics or the controversial issues I prattle on about over here, and comments moderation will be a bit tighter. One blogger, two personas, so to speak.

What I offer is radically simple: I help clients prepare for media relations in China, and, if they’d like, I help them book time with reporters there as I’ve done for my other clients. Is there a market for this service, and will it work? I honestly don’t know. The one thing I do know is that if I hadn’t gone ahead and tried it out I’d be mad at myself for the rest of my life for not taking the leap.

China hands are sure to take issues with some on the material on my site. Some, for example, may see the ubiquitous red envelopes for domestic media as a flat-out bribe, and others may argue that “guanxi” is so hackneyed and over-used it doesn’t merit yet another post about it, let alone an entire video. But keep in mind, this new site isn’t necessarily for China hands. It’s for people who have limited or zero knowledge of working with the media in China.

I had hoped to open the site a few weeks earlier but technical and travel issues got in the way. So I’m opening it now, the day before I leave on a three-week trip to China. This is the soft launch, an invitation to check out what China Media Strategies is all about. I’ll do a more formal launch when I get back. Please do take a look at the site, the videos and, of course, the blog.

The Discussion: 23 Comments

Congratulations, Richard! The site looks great! This is such a perfect business for you, and I’m sure you’ll have amazing success.

September 8, 2010 @ 5:23 am | Comment

Thanks a lot, Lisa. Fingers are crossed, and no matter what, just getting to this point has been a great experience for me.

September 8, 2010 @ 5:37 am | Comment

Good luck with this, Richard – although I suspect you won’t need it!

I’ll tweet the link to my small – but select – band of twitter followers.

September 8, 2010 @ 5:55 am | Comment

Thanks a lot, Stuart. Believe me, I need all the luck I can get!

September 8, 2010 @ 6:07 am | Comment


September 8, 2010 @ 6:35 am | Comment

Congratulations, Richard!

September 8, 2010 @ 7:49 am | Comment

Congratulations Richard- all looks great!

September 8, 2010 @ 7:54 am | Comment

For anyone who doesn’t know it already – Richard is a class act when it comes to pure-play *media relations*: story angles, choosing headlines, creating and packaging and streamlining content. I wish you the best of success, Richard!

September 8, 2010 @ 8:38 am | Comment

Best of luck, Richard!

September 8, 2010 @ 9:35 am | Comment

Jenny, thanks so much for that great comment. You are way too kind!

September 8, 2010 @ 9:53 am | Comment

Safe travels and good luck in your new venture. I’m sure the clueless will benefit from your skills and experience.

Now, I’ll take the bait about the red envelopes; I watched and listened very closely to your video and I must say you did your best to spin it, but they are nothing but bribes. If the “giants” can compel coverage without the red envelopes then the rest are using the rest are using the red envelopes as a cash exchange for the coverage. While it may be a cultural thing there is nothing honorable or ethical in that behavior. A similar lack of ethics seems to pervade all levels of Chinese business. A doctor writes prescriptions and gets a direct cash kick back for every drug prescribed. A contractor squeezes cash out of every sub-contractor just for the right to work. These, and many other examples, may be what goes in a desperately poor society but as the moneyed class enriches itself, does it still need to continue? More importantly, do we need to enable this fleecing?

OK, let the comments begin. Are Americans, the wealthy, the powerful squeaky clean? Absolutely not. The conflicts of interest at every level of business and government are shocking. But that’s my point. We are shocked. We don’t see as the usual way to do business. When it is the culture…it is nothing more than extortion.

September 8, 2010 @ 2:11 pm | Comment

I’ll respectfully disagree. Like all gifts to the media, which are business as usual throughout Asia, there may be an element you can describe as a bribe. But as I said, there is not necessarily a quid pro quo. You can’t demand anything, let alone the exact story you want them to write. If you could, then I would definitely call it a bribe. Does it increase your chances of coverage? Most definitely. Is it a quid pro quo bribe? I say it isn’t, not any more than taking a business prospect out for dinner or on a golfing expedition. The results are not guaranteed. I’ve seen red envelops handed out and absolutely no coverage followed. And you can’t call up and shout, “But we paid you!”

September 8, 2010 @ 2:27 pm | Comment

Best of luck with your new venture, and bon voyage!

September 8, 2010 @ 4:06 pm | Comment

Best of luck, Richard. Mazel tov, haimischer mensch! And, lest I forget, l’Chaim!

I am rooting for you. I think you can provide a lot of help to western media reporters and organizations. You will certainly help them with their culture shock, which, even here in Taipei, exists.

I have gone through bucketfuls of culture shock here. But it is worthwhile. The Taiwanese are a wonderful people.

Again, mazel tov, Richard! Zay gezunt!

BTW, Richard, I hope your style, honesty, kindness and forthrightness rubs off onto your customers. That would be a great improvement.


September 8, 2010 @ 6:36 pm | Comment

Congratulations Richard – great site, great video, great concept – may I wish you the best of luck, whilst not thinking that you’ll need it!

September 8, 2010 @ 7:38 pm | Comment

Good luck with the new venture, Richard.

I don’t know if it’s something to do with this PC, but the blog on the CMS website has a couple of entries that are struck-through. Looks weird, but if everything appears fine for you it’s a problem here.

September 8, 2010 @ 8:39 pm | Comment

Richard, I didn’t want my comment to distract from my congratulations to you on your new venture. I’ve read much of what you’re written over the course of the last five years and I think your professionalism, cultural sensitivity and your genuine positive feelings for China will serve you and your clients very well. Best wishes for your continued success!

September 8, 2010 @ 10:38 pm | Comment

Just the PC I was working on, the blog looks fine now.

September 9, 2010 @ 2:31 am | Comment

Hot damn! Congrats man! Good luck!

September 9, 2010 @ 9:28 pm | Comment

Congratulations Richard ! What a great idea for a biz that taps into all your media and journalism experience. You’re my role model in this post-newspaper age ! cheers from your old d.c. colleague 🙂

September 10, 2010 @ 2:33 am | Comment

Jerry, Raj, Miss Jo, Victoria et. al., thanks for the great comments.

Raj, I think you were probably using MS Internet Explorer when you got the crossed-through text. You’re now the second to tell me this, and the second to say it went away when they used a different PC. I’ll look into it.

September 10, 2010 @ 7:46 am | Comment

Horses for courses.

Run, you sweet bastard, run!

September 14, 2010 @ 11:27 pm | Comment

Raj, I think you were probably using MS Internet Explorer when you got the crossed-through text.

Yep. Works fine with Firefox.

September 15, 2010 @ 5:17 am | Comment

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