Eastwei
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
News and insights from the global PR industry

Eastwei

Holmes Report

Historically, public relations in China has revolved around personal contacts, “guanxi”, and in some cases payments to newspapers and journalists in exchange for editorial coverage, but in recent years several of the more sophisticated local firms have joined the giant multinational agencies, offering a more strategic approach. Eastwei, one of the fastest-growing firms in the fast-growing Chinese market, calls its version of this approach “knowledge-driven” PR, which involves taking the time to educate journalists about the firm’s clients and the industries in which they operate and to make sure stories are judged on their merits rather than on the personal relationships of the people pitching them.

 

It’s an approach that has created some challenges—it requires knowledgeable professionals who are also fast learners—but it has paid off handsomely. Eastwei’s rapid growth—fees were up by about 45 percent last year and the firm now has about 100 people—has been fueled employee loyalty (in a market where staff turnover is often as high as 50 percent), client loyalty (90 percent retention last year), and the addition of some impressive new business, including several Sony product lines (including Vaio computers and Cybershot cameras); corporate business from Procter & Gamble and Roche; and assignments from Allianz and Best Buy.

 

Eastwei was founded in 1994 in Beijing by three partners, including current majority owner Johan Björkstén, a Swedish national who worked as television host and radio announcer in

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