All three links generate Olympic excitement:
1. The official website of Beijing's five adorable Olympic mascots , collectively known as Fuwa and whose names form the sentence, "Welcome to Beijing" (bei jing huan ying ni).
2. Construction photos of the incredible National Swim Center, also known as the Bubble (link found on Virtual China).
3. Beijing billboards feature "Olympic 10 Dos and Don'ts." According to Danwei, these include "Respect Olympic Intellectual Property / Don't trade in counterfeit goods", "Save the beauty of the city and its surroundings / Don't spit anywhere", and "Promote the awareness of the Olympic regulations / Don't break the law with disregard to the broader impact ".
A survey of Chinese and American youth conducted by IAC/InterActiveCorp and WPP's JWT advertising agency found that Chinese youth under 25 exceed American youth in at-home high speed Internet access, ownership of computer phones and digital and video cameras.
"In China, 86% of young people feel they live some part of their lives online."
The Wall Street Journal connects this study with Motorola's heavy promotion of its Q smart phone using a cool Chinese animation figure named Tuzki, and with IAC's recent investment of $100 million in the Chinese internet.
This past month saw an unprecedented infusion of Asian capital into the West's leading financial institutions. Sovereign wealth funds from China, Singapore and Abu Dhabi have spent tens of billions of dollars acquiring shares of distressed U.S. and Swiss blue chip finance companies including Morgan Stanley, UBS, Citigroup, and Merrill Lynch. With a headline "Great Wall Street of China," the Wall Street Journal reports that this is the first time that Chinese companies and the government bought more overseas than foreign buyers have invested in China."
With shrinking credit, massive write-offs and talk of a recession, how can American companies make themselves look more attractive to Asian buyers? Can foreign ownership spur transformation and further globalization in the world's largest companies?
The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating front-page article describing how Chinese government and business leaders maintain their jet black hair into their 60s and beyond. The reporter claims that today's Chinese leaders are driven by emerging cultural preferences for youth and public displays of health.
A photo of President Hu Jintao appears to confirm the report. Additional evidence is given in quotes from industry leaders and a sociologist at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, in pharmacies promoting shou wu, an herbal liver and kidney formula, and in famed Hong Kong star Jackie Chan fronting Bawang Shampoo for "black and intact" hair. All this stands in contrast to the many, many gray-haired seniors I observed on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai.
Does this Chinese modern male fashion represent a break with traditional respect for elders? If head-shaving is a sign of Buddhist renunciation, is hair-coloring a sign of business abilities? With gray hair in the leaders of the United States, Japan and India, is China pursuing a unilateral coiffure direction?
From Beyonce to Sonic Youth and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, United States musicians are touring China. Musical super-stars and underground bands are going to China for touring revenue, not CD sales. Given rampant piracy in China, the music market there provides insight into the future of the global music business, where CD sales shrink in importance, while touring, merchandising and endorsements provide new sources of revenue. Beyond music, this story also points to China's emerging role as new and voracious consumers of the global economy's goods and services, including advanced aeronautics, extracted minerals, mobile handsets and world-wide tourism.
Media mogul Barry Diller's IAC, InterActiveCorp, will invest $100 million in China. IAC is the parent company of Ask.com and Citysearch. How will IAC fare in Round 2 of U.S. internet investment in China? Round 1 already saw Silicon Valley biggest stars fail to compete with strong Chinese competitors, including Google's second place to Baidu in search, eBay's trailing Taobao in auctions, and MSN's poor performance compared to QQ in instant messaging and online community.
Just back from Japan where I met with Fujitsu, Sony, mobile visionaries, startups and partners. In November I'll be chairing a session at the Design for User Experience conference in Chicago on November 6, and speaking with Wendy Owen at Future Trends about Mobile China and mixed reality in Miami on November 13.