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I forgot to post this in January, when the meeting actually happened, but it’s a richly symbolic poster for a meeting on digital media…

The PRC government has adopted regulations governing internet access and the distribution of information over the internet. Under these regulations, internet content providers and internet publishers are prohibited from posting or displaying over the internet content that, among other things, impairs the national dignity of China, is reactionary, obscene, superstitious, fraudulent or defamatory, or otherwise violates PRC laws and regulations. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in the revocation of licenses to provide internet content and other licenses and the closure of the concerned websites. The website operator may also be held liable for such censored information displayed on or linked to the website. […] Although we attempt to monitor the content posted by users on our platform, we are not able to effectively control or restrict content (including comments as well as pictures, videos and other multimedia content) generated or placed on our platform by our users. In March 2012, we had to disable the Comment feature on our platform for three days to clean up feeds related to certain rumors. To the extent that PRC regulatory authorities find any content displayed on our platform objectionable, they may require us to limit or eliminate the dissemination of such information on our platform. Failure to do so may subject us to liabilities and penalties and may even result in the temporary blockage or complete shutdown of our online operations.

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A key criterion to measure the success of media in transition is whether it can sustain commercial growth while benefiting society. Compared to other enterprises, which make commercial interests the top consideration, media organizations should care more about their responsibility to social and public interests. Traditional media should realize the challenges ahead. Companies should be prepared to face declining demand for print publications, sales and distribution, and adjust their personnel structure accordingly. The transition of mass media into the digital age will lead to significant changes in advertising. Ads in newspapers and magazines will see a dramatic decline, but at the same time the rise of Internet-based news portals will provide more diverse platforms and formats for advertising.

In the West we’re used to interacting with suppliers at a slow, remote, one-to-one level. If we want to talk to vendors of a particular type of part they may be scattered all over the city. Visiting a vendor involves making an appointment, driving across town, having them make you coffee and exchange business cards, small talk, watching painful Powerpoint presentations, and so on. Before you know it half a day is gone just to visit one particular potential supplier. If you want to investigate multiple vendors and negotiate prices, it can take days or weeks. That’s considered the “professional” way to do it in the West. It’s slow and inefficient, and that’s one of the reasons the West is having its arse kicked by the East in many industries including electronics.

In contrast, the electronics markets of Shenzhen are trading floors that bring together the representatives and agents of many companies into one tightly packed little space, bringing maximum convenience to buyers. The closest analogy for Western visitors is a permanent, city-wide trade show. The market buildings typically contain hundreds of little booths on every floor…