It's symbolic that I write my last editors letter for 2010 from Shanghai, a city we've landed in after a roadshow, of sorts, that also included Beijing, Ningbo and soon Shenzhen.
Shanghai is cold. The World Expo is over, but all indicators - from the ridiculous traffic conditions to the packed restaurants – business continues to boom.
Buildings which overlook the Huangpu River are a plastered with global brands and serve as a signpost for how well and how far the marketing industry has evolved.
Many agencies and marketers we've met along the way are recording year-on-year growth unimaginable in the markets of Europe and North America.
Take Omnicom’s PHD network as an example. In 2010 the agency has seen growth upwards of 350%, adding an extra 100 staff to its Shanghai office along the way. China alone now represents 5% of PHD’s global billings and could grow to 40% in as little as five years time - a phenomenal figure.
China's growth story has been incredibly hard to ignore and cities like Shanghai are just one part of a much bigger story happening right across the country. Those who saw the early writing on the wall and made the investments are now reaping huge benefits.
But it is also symbolic for the plain and simple fat that we, like many others, see China as a great opportunity, albeit one that comes with great challenges.
While the growth stories are inspiring, the horror stories are frightening.
Examples of people (particularly in media business) losing their business to the bureaucracy, are all too frequent.
It’s also another reason why Hong Kong should and most likely will continue to promote itself a stepping stone to Mainland China.
It’s been a huge year for the industry and a big year for us at Marketing magazine. Thanks for all your support and see you again in 2011.