The Domestic Market in China: Are you an NBA Pro or an Average Joe? Part I

Is the Chinese domestic market arriving?  That depends…are you the National Basketball Association?  Or, are you another reader of China-sized hype?

ChinaLawBlog recently covered an email/article by Shaun Rein of the China Market Research Group out of Shanghai.  The email discussed many points covered in a Business Week article entitled China’s
Rising Retail Market: Chinese youth intend to spend "considerably more"
in 2008 than they did in 2007. Multinationals had better start thinking

The email summary began with:

While retail sales are plummeting in the US, sales in China are
continuing to boom, driven by optimistic shoppers largely shielded from
the global economic malaise. China as a market to sell into rather than
a place to source cheap products from has become a major engine for
growth for even the largest companies worldwide.

In another recent report by Booz, Allen, Hamilton and the AmCham Shanghai (h/t AllRoads), the #1 reason US companies would stay in China despite rising costs is access to the domestic market.

What gets these companies salivating over the consumer market in China?  Consider the example of a regular season NBA basketball game.

The most
televised TV sports event, a regular season NBA basketball game between
two average NBA teams, which happened to have two native Chinese
basketball players (Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee’s Yi
Jianlian), drew an estimated 250 million viewers.  This figure that puts
any SuperBowl to shame.  That’s right, a regular season NBA basketball game trumps the Superbowl because of two Chinese guys.  That is significant.  In advertising, three digit numbers in front of the word "million" causes excitement.

If you’re the NBA, you’re happy.  If you’re selling to a very small group of affluent Chinese kids in a handful of coastal cities, you’re interested in reading the China Market Research Group’s report.

But, unfortunately, NBA + 250 million viewers, does not equal 1.3 billion customers.  Not even by a long shot…

Part II is coming…