Asian technology companies (1,442 articles) attracted a much higher volume of media coverage in Southeast Asia, compared to US technology companies (697 articles) in the region.
According to a report by CARMA and Allison + Partners, the high level of media interest was triggered by Chinese government regulatory changes, including a limit on video games for children and the online privacy law. These regulatory updates have generated worldwide interest and have had a notable impact on companies such as Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu.
Alphabet dominated coverage of U.S. tech companies, accounting for 70% of coverage. While the media focused on Alphabet’s products were very positive, much of the news during this period focused on legal issues in several markets, including copyright issues in France. and content banned in Russia.
Company performance, investments, and product news were common topics across all tech brands. The ongoing legal issues facing some tech companies have been covered frequently, especially in the Singaporean media. These include Alibaba’s violation of China’s antitrust law, Alphabet’s case of violation of Russian banned content regulations, and US antitrust law.
There were some subtle differences in the way topics such as culture and well-being at work were reported. While all of the tech companies received coverage of their CSR initiatives in their local media, SEA media only ran stories about Asian tech activities. Tencent’s donations to low-income groups and Alibaba that achieved green efficiency were prime examples.
While U.S. tech’s efforts to manage employee well-being during COVID-19 received frequent media attention, Asian tech’s COVID-19 measures were not covered during the period analyzed. This may be due to the timing, as many responses to the pandemic from Asian tech companies had already been implemented. However, it shows that employee wellness initiatives are engaging local media and have the potential to generate positive coverage.
Asian tech workplace culture has become a source of very negative media coverage. This was sparked by the alleged sexual assault incident at Alibaba’s workplace which resulted in the dismissal of 10 employees for disclosing the accusation. The coverage of these events led to a larger discussion about the “toxic” culture of Chinese tech companies.
So what’s in the news?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to mainstream media engagement in Southeast Asia. When it comes to what’s in the news in Southeast Asia, it can be inferred that different publications, depending on where they are based, are drawn to different types of information.
Posts in Thailand and Indonesia, for example, are more likely to cover product news than those in Singapore.
While we see some level of product news in Singapore, mainstream media are more likely to cover tech news related to legal or government regulations, giving brands an opportunity to think about how they can align further. their initiatives on local government policies.
Internal news can also be news
As the region’s media are more receptive to covering internal efforts ranging from CSR to HR-related initiatives, there are opportunities for Asian and American tech brands to consider branding campaigns for employees. Asian tech companies, in particular, can communicate more about their employee wellness and safety initiatives.
News resonates louder when linked to national issues
Brands looking to gain traction must address the real-life challenges that people and businesses face and demonstrate their relevance by aligning their views with national initiatives and policies.
Legal and regulatory issues have the potential to burst into the news. As such, it is imperative that brands proactively monitor the conversations around these issues and ensure that there is a communication plan that can be activated if their businesses are involved in such issues. Beyond how to communicate incidents that occur, brands will also need to proactively communicate the actions they are taking to mitigate or resolve the issues.
Asian brands are more likely to share other updates following incidents, which ultimately describes them as more cooperative and compliant compared to American tech brands.
Photo courtesy: 123RF
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