Global auto makers think the Internet is the way into the hearts of a new generation of Chinese car enthusiasts.
Both foreign and domestic auto makers here are pouring ad money into online ventures, even as their overall spending remains flat. Market-tracking firm iResearch expects outlays for online auto marketing to reach 1.75 billion yuan, or roughly $256 million, this year, up from 1.38 billion yuan in 2008.
China's biggest Web-site operators are jockeying to meet the demand, with several offering online games or other features designed to encourage visitors to click on auto-related ads. One popular game, from social-networking site Kaixin001, lets users 'park' cars in virtual garages, earnings points they can use to buy more cars. BMW, Ford Motor's Volvo brand and China's Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. have sponsored cars featured in the game since it started accepting ads in December.
'It's the first time to have a chance to show our dynamic style online,' said Terry Johnsson, vice president of Shanghai General Motors Co., a joint venture of SAIC and General Motors of the U.S. that advertises its Buick model on the game. 'We will definitely do more on social-networking sites,' he said. Shanghai GM has allocated 10% of its overall media budget to the Internet in 2009, almost double 2007's level, he added.
上海通用汽车副总裁蒋泰瑞(Terry Johnsson)说,这是我们首次有机会在网上展示自己活力四射的风格。上海通用是上汽和通用汽车(General Motors)的合资企业,在开心网的游戏中为旗下的别克车做广告。蒋泰