If you happen to do business with Chinese people, you've probably been receiving a lot of e-mails mentioning the word, “CNY” lately. Don't mistake CNY with the Chinese Yuan. At this time of the year, it simply means the Chinese New Year. Chinese people are quite zealous about the CNY, and I always tie this zeal to two factors:
- The link between the Chinese New Year tale & the fireworks, and
- The “Red Envelope” a.k.a. the “Lucky Money”
The link between the Chinese New Year Tale & The Fireworks
A long long time ago, there was a monster named “Nian” (translation is “the Year” in Chinese) who lurked in the mountains and dined on human flesh on the first day of every year. As a result, on New Year’s Eve people would worship the heaven and the ancestors, praying that they wouldn't meet the monster Nian. The Chinese would turn all the lights out to have a banquet with their family, filled with different kinds of food as their last meal.
On one New Year's Eve, as everyone hid from the monster by staying indoors, a stranger wandered into the streets and asked people for a place to sleep that one night. Everyone turned him away except for one old grandma. In return, the stranger promised that he would protect the grandma from the dangerous monster.
With a red piece paper glued on their gate, the stranger and the grandma remained safe while the monster started eating everybody else. Soon the monster found them, but was unable to approach their house as he was afraid of the color red. Later on, his hunger defeated his fear, and the monster shouted again as he jumped into their lawn. And as the fireworks began, the monster ran out to the mountains and disappeared.
The next morning people found out that grandma was still alive, and they asked her how she managed to survive. She told them about the weak spots of the monster.
Lesson Learned: Next time, when you see your Chinese neighbors playing with fireworks, don’t complain and give them your lighter!
The “Red Envelope” a.k.a. The “Lucky Money”
If you ask 10 Chinese kids in the street why they're so excited about the CNY, they would tell you that it's because of the “Lucky Money”.
So what’s the “Lucky Money”?
In addition to the monster “Nian,” there was a bad spirit called “Sui” (which means “the age” in Chinese) who had been harassing Chinese kids for a long long time. On New Year’s Eve, the spirit would touch the forehead of the kid to give him a high fever and turn him into an idiot.
When an old couple finally had a kid, they treasured their child and tried to hide him from the bad spirit. They gave their son eight coins wrapped in red paper, and he slept with them under his pillow to avoid the bad spirit. Later on, with the help of a spooky breeze, the candle was blown out and the spirit revealed itself. As its hand was about to touch the kid’s forehead, a strong golden beam stroke it, and the spirit disappeared! It turns out that those 8 coins were the symbols of “the eight immortals,” protecting that family. When people found out about this, it became a tradition to put “lucky money” (which can exorcise the bad luck) into a red envelope and hand it to the ones you love to show your good will and best regards.
Since kids nowadays don’t really know this story and only focus on the cash inside the envelope, after the traditional greeting “Kung Hei Fat Choi” (May prosperity be with you), they add on another one: “Lai See Dou Loi” (then gimme a red envelope!).
Conclusion: The next time the Chinese New Year comes again, bring your lighter and fireworks with you, knock on your friends' door with a red envelope in your hand, and just shout this out and enjoy the year: “Kung Hei Fat Choi, Lai See Dou Loi!”
Co-Authored by William Chen
They sound like acronyms for soccer organizations, don't they? SOPA, PIPA... FIFA? But, you know they're not. In fact, they are possibly the most important and alarming acronyms you'll hear these days. The Internet is on strike today. Wikipedia has closed its doors, Google is screaming, news sites, blogs, and the world of social media is protesting so that the US Congress doesn't pass two bills, namely SOPA and PIPA, on January 24th. For those of you who somehow fell out of the loop, here's what these two acronyms stand for. I'm pasting them from Wikipedia, whose only online page is this.
"What are SOPA and PIPA?
SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the "Stop Online Piracy Act," and PIPA is an acronym for the "Protect IP Act." ("IP" stands for "intellectual property.") In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout. GovTrack lets you follow both bills through the legislative process: SOPA on this page, and PIPA on this one. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the public interest in the digital realm, has summarized why these bills are simply unacceptable in a world that values an open, secure, and free Internet."
Many people and organizations are arguing that these two bills will do more harm than good, primarily because they will censor the web, which is in today's world the ultimate platform for freedom of expression, will be detrimental to job creation, and of course will not actually stop piracy! As you and I both know, pirates will ALWAYS find a way. Hasn't the US been looking down on China for its censorship and the paralyzing effect it has on the freedom of its citizens? Then, why is the US doing the same thing?
Last May, thousands of people took the streets in Istanbul, Turkey to protest the new internet filters that the Turkish Government decided to impose on its citizens. The filters, which had names like "children," "family," "domestic" were understood as masked restrictions and considered as pure censorship. YouTube was banned for months, but people still accessed it through other domains. Dozens of words, such as "animal," "girl," "naked," "fire" were banned from search engines without any explanation. "I believe in using words, not fists," said Bertrand Russell. If we eliminate words from our lives or don't allow people to use them freely, will we encourage them to turn to violence instead?
I was reading an interview with director, P.T. Anderson the other day (yes, another one) and something he said struck me. He said, "When you're working on something, there's always a danger of screwing the screws in so f****** tight that it's not breathing any longer." And somehow, at least for me, this ties into the whole deal with SOPA and PIPA, as they're nothing but restrictive and serve as a weapon to kill creativity and innovation. It seems like the US Government is trying to screw the screws so tight that they are choking and suffocating the people. And this, the restriction and inaccessibility these two bills will bring to people's lives, is the most alarming problem.
Feel free to comment on this blog to voice your opinion on what the most problematic component in SOPA and PIPA is and why they are a danger to our future.
In 2007, we decided to start a full package service for the US market. We conceptualized it as a one-stop-shop for our fashion clients, where quality and design would come before the price and margins. The only place where we could reach our goal was China. Here’s why:
Their prices were still competitive. Many Europeans, Japanese, and Koreans had started working with the Chinese to teach them about their quality standards and needs. China was based on export business, and they had the potential of manufacturing high quality products.
My initial trip was to Beijing, and it was challenging due to the language barrier, the strong presence of the State, and of course the cultural differences. Chinese culture is the oldest one in the world, and regardless of what happened in the last century, Chinese people still maintain and follow particular. The key word is Guanxi, which translates into “relationship,” meaning every business can only be built over time, based on trust and confidence.
My apparel manufacturing partner Said Dib and I were searching for multiple options in terms of factories and mills, while trying to build our network as quickly as possible. It took us several trips to realize that we should spare more time for each meeting and have lunch or dinner with the non-English-speaking boss to establish our Guanxi. However, this wasn’t enough. Not speaking Mandarin Chinese was not the only obstacle. One needs to really need to adapt his/her mentality to a Chinese one to be able to communicate fully. After 4 years of continuous traveling to China, sometimes I still find myself astonished or surprised about many factors, and the answers is always the same: This is CHINA.
At the present stage, MTI USA has established itself in China in terms of garment and fabric production. Our main customers are Michael Kors, JV, Converse, DKNY Jeans Intl, Swiss Army. We provide all of our customers with innovative products in leather, woven and knits.
Our strength comes from our strong relationship with the mills and factories. We consider them our partners and work hard on both sides for the same target. This is a new concept in China, where foreigners (including Hong Kong) always try to get the maximum profit in a short time, which is quite typical of the consumerist society we live in.
For example, it was a slow start with the leather factory, Twin City. Though when they saw that we were always trying to raise the price in order to share any extra profit with them, they started giving us their best service, and our business grew constantly season after season.
In the meantime, improved the woven and knit business with an Italian pioneer, Mr. Ugo Paulotto, who has been traveling around the World in the past 35 years: South Africa, Thailand and now China. His products are actually Italian and considered unique in China, but they weren’t easy to sell in the US where innovation is mostly seen as a risk, and not an opportunity!
The down side is that China is raising costs too quickly. Salaries are growing 15-20% and the RMB is constantly getting stronger compared to the USD. Most of the world may think that Chinese economy is growing at a10% rate, but during my last recent trip, I noticed a critical reaction from a few Chinese business people. Especially in fashion, the rising costs are causing the biggest customers to leave this country and shift their commodity businesses to South East Asia: Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia. None of them are comparable to China in terms of economic power and are "stealing" a big amount of its business. The Chinese domestic market is growing, but not enough quickly to support the loss of export and the rising prices. This is the first time China’s growth is seriously declining after many years wealth.
See Part 2 here.
Tommaso Rulli on Chinese Market:
Watch more on Film Annex
Today was an interesting day for me personally as Cornell University's David Skorton and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg named Cornell and Technion of Isreal the winners of Bloomberg's highly publicized competition to create a "game-changing" applied sciences and technology campus. My wife, her father, and myself are all Cornell graduates. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were Ithaca College graduates. My wife and I met in Ithaca during graduate school, and like many Cornell graduates, our life is now is now centered in NYC. We use Cornell-New York Hospital for our family healthcare base, and I started a Silicon Valley start-up with technology from the Cornell Research Foundation. In a nutshell, Cornell is a big piece of our lives, but it is almost 5 hours away (when there is no snow!), and now it begins over on Roosevelt Island where Katie and I used to park our car to save money when we were first married.
The Cornell NYC Tech Campus @ Roosevelt Island is expected to spur economic growth, job creation, and high-tech entrepreneurship in NYC and Skorton and Bloomberg were on Morning Joe today to speak about this new campus:
Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Now when you look at this model closely, much of what has been set in motion by Cornell has actually been executed by The Rulli Brothers of Film Annex and myself - at least at the early stages.
Francesco Rulli and Tommaso Rulli are visionary entrepreneurs who were attracted to New York City from their native Italy by the Batmanish-Gotham City excitement of New York. They have built a number of lasting businesses that now find NYC as a home, with Film Annex being the latest. Cornell University and myself can learn alot from The Rulli Brothers, who some in the business world may classify as "high school graduates from Italy". Trust me, they should not be underestimated. Sure, I can add certain business disciplines to Film Annex that may have been missing, but without a vision and a tenacity to execute on that vision, you end up with a nice story, but not a real business.
With a first meeting in January 2011 with Cornell in place to examine Film Annex's relationship with the new Cornell NYC Tech Campus, keep an eye out for further announcements between Film Annex and Cornell's NYC Tech Campus.
Below is Tommaso Rulli speaking about Film Annex China, which is the first thing that Cornell should be interested in because of the two billion potential viewers.
Watch more on Film Annex
Over on Eren Gulfidan's Film Annex Blog there is an article about the recent agreement between the Associated Press (AP) and Metan Development in China. It states:
"The Associated Press and Metan Development Group have signed a deal to provide entertainment programming content for Mandarin-speaking audiences, extending AP’s reach to digital and broadcast markets in mainland China. Los Angeles-headquartered Metan Development Group has established a programming deal to produce short-form and long-form AP entertainment content in Mandarin for multiple platforms. Metan will develop original programming using AP content. Metan will be responsible for content distribution via television, online and mobile platforms throughout mainland China."
Larry Namer, President/CEO of METAN, stated in the press release:
“We are delighted to partner with the world’s most prestigious and widely respected news organization to develop localized content for Mandarin-speaking audiences. The collaboration marks the first time AP content will be distributed in China in a magazine show-style format. Together, we will deliver AP’s compelling entertainment news footage to Mandarin-speaking audiences in mainland China and around the globe."
In November, Film Annex announced its, partnership between Film Annex and METAN Development Group for the promotion and distribution of METAN's flagship series Hello! Hollywood on the web. With Film Annex already working in China and translating its content into Mandarin for the Chinese, I asked Francesco Rulli about next steps for Film Annex in China. Francesco Rulli stated:
"Larry Namer has proven again to be a leading point of reference and connection between English and Mandarin speaking global communities. Film Annex and The Associated Press share a similar vision with METAN about the growth of the Mandarin speaking audience. We are now exploring film and written content opportunities in China and I continue to look forward to working with METAN and their new partnership with AP."
As Film Annex moves to the "VBlog" business model which combines Blogging with embedded videos and film, we constantly look to attact "Influential" Bloggers to the Film Annex platform. At Film Annex, we use a proprietary Blogger Search Tool and we currently search on topics focused on politics and current events. These current events and politics change each day, and we change our input system with the events taking place. Our lists grows in different ways each week.
We then score a Blogger's "Influenter Score" which is based on:
- Mining of a year’s worth of blog postings across the internet (using most frequent bloggers to engage with first);
- The technology allows us to not just determine which blogger posted about our keywords recently, but how often they do so over time;
- We blend this with traffic and influence data that allows us to develop a target list of high-potential influencers in a specific industry.
Sample target weighting traffic and influence data would include:
- Weighting how much influence the Blogger's site has (traffic and inbound links);
- Keyword frequency, and
- Number of sites linking back to the blogger's page.
The number of online conversations occurring around the blogger or the Bloggers blog generates a second, equally interesting target list.
Our Analyzing Program is currently tracking over 50 million active legitimate blogs (around 110 million counting all blogs including spam, 60% of which are filtered before being analyzed). We then determine "Authoritative Blogs", which measures how they relate to the subject or a specific company. The more relative/important to the company or subject matter the higher authority a Blogger has.
Finally, we identify and contact "Influential Blogs", or influential bloggers that have a following/influence in a specific industry.
Thus, if we contacted you for partnering opportunities, you have simply developed a following that gives us the potential to "Send Checks" in the words of the legendary writer and producer Larry Namer or produce "Hard Cash" in the words of world famous filmmaker Abel Ferrara in their endorcement videos for Film Annex and Film Annex China:
Larry Namer on Film Annex China
Abel Ferrara on "Hard Cash" from Film Annex
Abel Ferrara is an American film screenwriter and director. He is best known for The Driller Killer (1979), Ms. 45 (1981), King of New York (1990), Bad Lieutenant (1992) and The Funeral (1996).
In this video, Abel Ferrara explains how he has been working with Film Annex for the past years through his website www.AbelFerrara.com, which is a Film Annex WebTV. He also encourages filmmakers to use the Internet which he believes is now the place to show films, raise money and connect with other professionals from the industry.
Watch more on abelferrara.com
Here is the Downtown version of the Film Annex Productions New York City series:
Watch more on Film Annex
Film Annex Productions has started to add a series of "backdrops" to our corporate videos and films. Here is Times Square, which is a major commercial intersection in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. The extended Times Square area, also called the Theatre District, consists of the blocks between Sixth and Eighth Avenues from east to west, and West 40th and West 53rd Streets from south to north, making up the western part of the commercial area of Midtown Manhattan. Enjoy:
Watch more on Film Annex
NEW YORK, NY, November 10, 2011 – Film Annex has announced that it will promote and distribute content produced by METAN Development Group, a media company founded with the purpose to deliver Western programming content to China. Film Annex is currently an online distributor of METAN’s flagship series Hello! Hollywood, China’s premiere entertainment news program, bringing viewers around the world the latest Hollywood celebrity news, lifestyle, and culture.
Hello! Hollywood reports on the latest in celebrity interviews and lifestyle news, covering glamorous red carpet events, concerts and award shows and offering up special insider tours of Hollywood’s new hotspots and exclusive television and movie set visits. Hello! Hollywood has interviewed some of the world’s top names from the world of entertainment including Johnny Depp, Jackie Chan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Eva Longoria, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, Kristin Stewart, David Beckham, Zac Efron, Jeremy Renner, and Seth Rogan, among many others.
Hello! Hollywood premiered in September 2009 and today reaches a potential one billion viewers on 40 stations in China and nine in the United States and Canada. Hello! Hollywood is also available on China’s top Internet portals with an estimated one million viewers a week.
“Metan is delighted to partner with Film Annex to distribute our hit series Hello! Hollywood via its very successful online platform,” said Larry Namer, President/CEO of Metan. “The partnership will further extend the Hello! Hollywood brand, reaching Mandarin-speaking audiences around the globe.”
Film Annex’s President, Francesco Rulli, added, “Entering the Mandarin-speaking world in collaboration with Larry Namer is an incredible opportunity. He has paved the path to the Chinese entertainment market with his vision and catchy content.”
Film Annex has also recently launched a Chinese version of its platform to make it more accessible to Mandarin-speaking visitors. The goal of the two companies is to create a strong relationship between Western content and Chinese viewers. The collaboration will also introduce many local Chinese stars to the rest of the world, making them global celebrities. Viewers can tune into Hello! Hollywood at Metan Media’s Film Annex page:http://www.filmannex.com/hellohollywood.
About Metan Media
Launched in 2009, Metan Development Group LLC (Metan) is a venture created to develop and distribute entertainment content and media specifically for international markets. The company's founders are entertainment industry veteran Martin Pompadur, E! Entertainment Television co-founder Larry Namer and Amerilink founder Jean Zhang. For more information, visithttp://www.metanmedia.com.
About Film Annex
Film Annex is an online film distribution platform and Web Television Network with 270,000 registered users and over 1.5 million viewers a day. The company creates free Web TV channels for content providers and supports them financially through an ad-revenue sharing model. A meeting point for filmmakers, film festivals, film enthusiasts, companies, and organizations, Film Annex educates and entertains audiences by making meaningful, diverse, and high- quality films available to a global audience. For more information, visithttp://www.filmannex.com.
Nicole Goesseringer Muj