Opinion monitoring services doing brisk business in China as online media reduced the time it takes to form public opinion from 24 hours to just one to four hours

Opinion monitoring services doing brisk business in China

Staff Reporter

2013-09-02

With online media having reduced the time it takes to form public opinion from 24 hours to just one to four hours, the business of public opinion monitoring is booming in China, the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly newspaper reports. The monitoring of online opinions caught attention in 2007, owing to the rise of social media, which has allowed people to actively express their thoughts on political and social issues, said Shan Xuegang, deputy head of the Public Opinion Monitoring Office at the People’s Daily. Former Chinese president Hu Jintao’s taking part in an online discussion in June 2008, the first time a Chinese leader had done so with internet users, led to the Chinese media marking that year as the beginning of online political participation in the country.Since public opinions form much faster through the internet, an institute might have to deal with one-sided criticism, misunderstanding or questions, if it fails to respond to such information quickly, the Southern Weekly said.

“It poses a great challenge for government agencies and businesses. New technologies and methods are needed, since it is impossible to make a critical response during the initial four hours by relying on traditional ways of gathering information,” said Yu Guoming, director of the Public Opinion Research Institute at Renmin University of China.

The business of monitoring online opinions had arisen, the Southern Weekly noted, because software companies, media outlets and consulting firms wanted to tap into the market with their respective strength.

For instance, the People’s Daily and the state-run Xinhua News Agency have both established units in this area and provide services for gathering and analyzing online opinions for clients, mainly government agencies.

With the China Internet Network Information Center’s data showing that the number of internet users in the country reached 591 million in July, the Public Opinion Monitoring Office is expected to contribute over 100 million yuan (US$16.3 million) to the revenue of the People’s Daily this year — the biggest amount among subsidiaries of the newspaper.

Xinhua, which established the country’s first monitoring platform on the county level, has forecast a 160% annual growth in revenue for this part of their business for 2013.

Technology companies, such as the Founder Group, have established their position in the business by selling software that help users easily track online discussions, or offers services to do so for clients for a charge.

Although some smaller service providers also offer to help delete negative online comments, both Zhu Huaxin at the People’s Daily and Duan Saimin at Xinhua insist that their monitoring services do not equal censorship.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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