World's Biggest Online Community Hoping to Cash in on the Olympics

Chinese web giant Tencent set up its dedicated Olympic Team more than three years ago and has been preparing for the London Olympics ever since, hoping to grab a big chunk of the cake.

Beijing Olympics closing ceremony (Andy Miah)
Beijing Olympics closing ceremony (Andy Miah)


BEIJING - As the London Olympic Games approach, China's four major Internet portals are entering the last warm-up phase for the vast advertising dash that will be held during the games.

Tencent is the world's largest online community with its instant messenger service Tencent QQ and numerous other web platforms including QQ.com. It set up an Olympic Project Team early this year and hopes to become China's top portal by both traffic flow and number of users during the games.

Tencent has invested heavily -- it bought exclusive access rights to top teams and sports star sponsorships -- and set up their official blogs and microblog sites.

"The flow, influence and ad revenue are the three performance indicators for web portals in the competition", says Chen Chu Hung, editor in chief of Tencent.

According to informed sources, Tencent's total revenue at the 2008 Beijing Olympics was around $24 million. But the next Olympics are expected to garner even more revenue. The company set up a dedicated team three years ago, right after the Beijing event, in order to sign up the big-name athletes.

For 17 days, the Olympics will be top news around the world. Aside from television, which pays astronomical sums for live broadcasting, the Internet is playing an ever larger role in the games, in particular in countries like China, where there's a major time difference with London, and where the market is huge. For advertisers, the Internet is also much cheaper than television.

A different Olympic Games "user experience"

In 2008, China's state television CCTV's total ad revenue was $1.2 billion. Tencent has the largest user base in China. Through its different platforms and with 711 million active user accounts for its instant message service, it hopes to grab a big chunk of the cake during the games.

The Tencent Olympic Project Team includes an editorial task force of more than 450 people, as well as over 100 technical and maintenance operatives, about 100 of which will be stationed in London during the summer.

NetEase, a strong competitor of Tencent is also sending 50 front-line reporters to cover the games directly from London's stadiums. It will cover events with uninterrupted mobile phone broadcasting 24 hours a day.

In an era when users' time and available information are more and more fragmented, it has become increasingly crucial for businesses to learn how to use social media, such as micro-blogs and online video, in targeting customers and finding the optimal marketing strategies.

For instance, "For China's football fans, using a Twitter-like micro-blog to share their joy with other fans is in itself just as important as watching the broadcast," the vice editor-in-chief of Tencent Wang Yongzhi points out. "The rise of social networking makes it easier for people to enjoy the fun of an Internet carnival. Web portals competing in the Olympics games are in essence running an integrated marketing race."

Read the original article in Chinese

Photo - Andy Miah

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel


BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.

Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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