Anyone involved in the investment world might be exhausted by the flow of articles on breaking into Chinese markets. It is simultaneously tough and necessary, both a boon for growing businesses and a bane for the most enterprising entrepreneurs. The language barrier and unfamiliarity with Baidu or WeChat arenot the only great walls anyone faces trying to get into China. For foreign businesses, there is one arena where overcoming these hurdles is more critical than others.
That arena is online advertising.
The business that cannot advertise cannot sell. Nicolas Chu’s Sinorbis platform promises to solve this problem for Western businesses trying to get a cut of the Chinese pie. Philanthropist Bruce Fink of Executive Channel Holding (ECH) led the company’s most recent investment round, seeing its advent as badly needed for Western entrepreneurs.
The likes of Sinorbis are critical for companies looking to conquer the Far East who do not know their Facebook and Twitter from their WeChat and Weibo. There are definitely local ad services in China, but not to the extent they are found in America or Europe – or Australia for that matter. But they cater to local players, big and small. Translation is not a priority, especially given the country’s stress on use of written Mandarin over regional languages.
Lack of supply for untapped ad network demand
What Bruce Fink and others see is an unanswered demand to facilitate translation and advertising in a single package. Having an in-house solution to build instant websites is a massive advantage for his other portfolio companies and business partners.
There is a chance to corner a market here. China’s internet infrastructure is vastly different from what Americans or Europeans are used to. China’s censorship laws are one hurdle, while its completely different list of leading social networks requires years of experience. That knowledge is lacking in the American business world, even Silicon Valley.
Sinorbis claims $4.7 billion spent by Western businesses on Chinese ads was mostly wasted due to poor translation (literal and cultural). Chu is optimistic: He thinks Sinorbis can dominate what should turn into $30 billion of spending within the next 10 years.
Chu’s Chinese background and Australian base might be the combination Western start-ups have long awaited. Unlike other sectors of the digital industry, ads are not going away any time soon. That gives Sinorbis a massive advantage in its own effort to establish its business in China, something of which their investors are probably keenly aware.