How Should Fashion Magazine Publishers Handle China?

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By James F. Thompson Comment

Despite recent indications of a financial slowdown, China remains an economic juggernaut. An emerging middle class is changing the way millions of Chinese people perceive materialism and the value of owning luxury items from Gucci hand bags to Rolex watches. This is welcome news, of course, to high-end brands in a flagging global economy.

This article in The New York Times about fashion magazines—Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, for instance—proliferating in China, raises a poignant issue that characterizes the challenges many PR efforts face when crossing cultures. “Publishers willing to contend with censorship, relationships with local business partners and low-level corruption common in many Chinese businesses are being rewarded so far.”

Are these magazines and their advertisers risking a public relations conundrum in their traditional markets by affiliating themselves with such practices? Google very publically left China over censorship issues in 2010. As PR experts, how would you advise these elite magazines and their sponsors navigate the challenges of penetrating an emerging and complex demographic?

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