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Internship Placement: PR/Marketing Internships in China

Career Opportunities Tailored For 'The Facebook Generation'

Are you, like most of our generation, constantly connected?

Do you find it difficult to pull yourself away from the Internet?

Imagine Facebooking, Twittering, sending instant messages and updating statuses and pages while gaining working experience and making your CV different from that of the others. It sounds too good to be true but this is the kind of experience you could expect if you choose to intern in China's PR, marketing or advertising industries. 

China's public relations and marketing industries have already stepped into new era - a digital era filled with social media and microblogs. People now shape their perceptions of the world around them increasingly via digital communication. Chinese netizens can, in a matter of hours, tarnish the impeccable image of a large company or make a hero out of some Average Joe. The power of 'Weibo,' China's twitter-like microblog, and 'renren,' a facebook-like social network, is driven by more than 30 million registered users exchanging messages and opinions every second.

And that presents a huge platform for successful marketing and advertising campaigns as well as easy means to establish and manage public relationships with the online users who are, at the same time, potential customers of a company.

The entire public relations industry is relatively new to China.  Public relations started to gain momentum around 12 years ago, with the arrival of multinationals and their heavy investment. Foreign PR companies accompanied the multinationals and before long, local firms started to catch on.

The Growth Of China's PR Industry

A bit more than a decade passed and the situation is completely different. China's PR industry is now booming. As John Holden, senior counsel of the world famous PR agency Hill and Knowlton, says, PR business in China is currently growing at a speed exceeding that of advertising and country's GDP. Chinese companies now more than ever seem eager to establish their presence in Europe and the US. As such, they are actively seeking the services of PR agents to help them break into new markets.

A case in point is Lenovo - a computer manufacturing giant that has successfully crossed the borders of China and enjoys global popularity and recognition.

According to International Public Relations Association, the PR sector in China grew by 25 per cent in 2011 in comparison to the figures of 2010, and is not expected to see any signs of slowdown. Its growth has been greatly accelerated by the increasing role of digital media and communications in Chinese society. At the same time, an expanding Internet community changes the priorities in PR strategies and tactics. Managing a company's reputation online has become more essential than organizing costly campaigns which have only short-term effects.

Big Challenges, Big Opportunities

After reading interviews and analyzing company questionnaires, we found that the largest and the most persistant problem with the PR/Marketing industry in China is the quality of staff performance and the lack of efficient PR talents. In his interview to China Daily, Steve Kronick, thepresient of Oglivy Public Relations Worldwide - North Asia region,  stressed that PR talents in China are in severe shortage. Hiring an experienced PR professional is extremely challenging. At the same time, adjusting to China's rapidly changing consumer market, PR companies feel the need to be more unconventional, progressive and creative while being able to maintain positive communications and relations equally in both real and virtual societies. Therefore young minds are especially headhunted. Presently, there are only 3 universities in China offering undergraduate degree in PR, and only 2 offering postgraduate (Master's) degree. At large, communications disciplines have never enjoyed high priorities among the Chinese youth.

One of the ways PR companies now effectively use to make up for the lack of employees is hiring interns, mostly graduates with a solid marks and well-put together CV's. They offer 3 to 6 to 12 month internships (depending on the intern availability) and assess interns’ performance while at the same time introducing them to all the specifics of PR business in China. Though language ability (Chinese) is welcomed, it is not crucial because most of the tasks interns carry out require English (writing ad content, posts and blogs). Crucial is knowledge of PR industry and social media. Inquiries into several Beijing-based PR offices revealed that at the moment there are at least 2 foreign interns working in each of them.

Still, many positions have not been filled. As a company providing intern recruitment services for PR offices in Beijing, we can provide more information on positions available. If you are interested in any of them, please, contact us at info@gi2c.org

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