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DAM China Connect: Interview with Victor Lebon

by Charles Russell on December 17, 2019

DAM Federation member and community engagement initiative DAM China Connect has recently conducted an interview with ICP‘s CEO Victor Lebon.  With the rise of martech in China, ICP’s opening of a new office in Shanghai could represent a new wave of DAM providers attempting to infiltrate this emerging non-western marketplace.  ICP view their entry into marketing technology in China as both a unique opportunity and a unique challenge.  Victor continues to provide a breakdown of these challenges,  stating that DAM is not as advanced as in other markets, mostly in the area of process optimisation, and that Chinese brand owners still ring-fence their operations and manage them separately, and in a different way to their global channels:

On one hand, China is a unique representation of ‘best practice’ on how to accomplish a seamless digital transformation from a consumer perspective and leading the way in best practices for things like eCommerce and the merging of online and offline advertising & path to purchase.  On the other hand, the practice of Digital Asset Management is not as advanced as in other markets”  [Read More]

However, in another recent interview by DAMCC, DAM News editor, Ralph Windsor expresses concerns that western DAM vendors may simply not possess the required skills, innovation or resources to break into this emerging market:

Most of the current cohort of European and North American DAM vendors lack the scale and local knowledge to gain traction in China. I’ve heard about some who tried to open offices in places like Beijing or Shenzhen etc. but then gave up because of the cost and bureaucratic complexity. This means there is an opportunity for Chinese DAM vendors to essentially learn about how to implement DAM without there necessarily being a great deal of external competition.”  [Read More]

When sharing some of the toughest obstacles ICP has faced developing DAM in China, Victor mentions the sheer pace at which technology is changing and evolving:

One example is when we have looked at how DAM can connect/integrate with eCommerce retailers (direct integration and distribution), something which is possible in markets such as UK & USA is almost inconceivable in China, because of how often the major retailers change/update their CMS platforms (sometimes measured in weeks!).”  [Read More]

He also states that global multi-brand organisations tend to be the exception rather than the norm in China, and that a one-size-fits-all solution is unlikely to work due to differences in both cultural and market trends.

Western global multi-brand owners will often have a global solution that they try to implement in China…We don’t see this happening very much the other way around. Where there are Chinese global brands, the Western divisions of those brands (largely) are asked to do their own thing, separate/independent from ‘Global HQ’ in China.”  [Read More]

When asked a similar question concerned with how to overcome cultural differences, Ralph sees the growth of DAM in China as an almost an inevitability, and that contrary to the typical one-way street, shoehorn approach of western infiltration into new market places, the spawning of local DAM initiatives in China and the subsequent flowering of new ideas, practices and relationships could well be the tonic that helps remedy the introspection, stagnation and inertia that the western DAM industry is currently suffering from.

However the emergence of DAM in China plays out, whether it’s an organic growth born of necessity, or a collaboration and sharing of skills and knowledge between east and west, it’s undoubtedly set to be a huge opportunity for those willing to face the challenges and persevere with solving them.

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