The American Business Media will kick off a global initiative by taking CEO members on a trip to China this October. "We’ve flirted with this in year’s past," said ABM CEO Gordon Hughes Wednesday. "The genesis of this began the minute our members started putting their products online and realizing the global impact of that. Now we’re trying to get them to understand how to land on those shores, especially China, and how to monetize their investments."
Hughes said the goals for the trip are two-fold. First, ABM wants to show its members that it’s working for them. "But if I’m a person with company X, and I come back with solid information and a way to break into the Chinese market, then that would serve me well." He said the trip will be limited to business media’s top CEOs. "We really are going to limit this to 20 people, 25 max," Hughes said. "It’s one of those situations where it’s not how many, it’s who. And this is going to be a very deep, rich experience for whoever does go."
Participants will spend three days in Beijing at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tian’anmen Square. They’ll fly out on Oct. 15, but meetings won’t begin until the next evening to give participants a chance to recover from jetlag. "You lose a day flying out, so you really need to catch up on some sleep or something when you get there," Hughes said. "Plus, a lot of people will want to do some sightseeing."
About two-thirds of the visit to Beijing will be spent in meetings with government officials, Hughes said. "The most critical people we meet with will be government officials," he said. "You can’t do business in China without permission from the government. There’s no private industry." Hughes said officials from IDG, McGraw-Hill and BPA, which have been in China for some time, have been instrumental in helping ABM plan its trip and set up meetings with the government.
After meeting with officials, participants will have the opportunity to meet with French and German publishers that are already operating in China, as well as international advertisers. He said the Chinese are most interested in reading publications on agriculture, healthcare, technology and aerospace. Prior to the Beijing visit, ABM and some events business members will visit the world’s largest face-to-face event and trade show, which will be taking place in Hong Kong. "They really do a great job at face-to-face events out there," Hughes said. "And they have this huge convention center that makes places in Las Vegas, Chicago, really anywhere, look like nothing."
During the week of July 24, ABM will host a Webcast, its first ever, detailing the trip to China. Hughes will discuss a recent trip he took to Beijing during the Webcast. ABM will also give participants a copy of the book, When Yes Means No! (or Yes or Maybe): How to Negotiate a Deal in China, prior to the trip. "It’s a great book," he said. "Bristol Myers uses it. We really want this trip to be a success and there’s really a lot of things we don’t know about the culture of China. So this will give us some rules for road on how to deal with China before we get there."
Next March, ABM is planning a similar trip to India. And, in October 2007, the associaton plans to take select members on a trip to either Brazil and South America, or Eastern Europe, as part of its continuing global outreach effort, Hughes said.