Beijing Olympics 2008 update

This evening I was interviewed by a Dutch radio station about whether people in Shanghai are already excited about the Beijing Olympics. In my opinion the Olympics are not a very hot topic yet among people in Shanghai. Many perceive it more as a Beijing event than as a Chinese one right now. I think that will change, there is still more than a year to go until the Olympics start on 08-08-08 at 08:08 PM. A year is a long time in a fast-paced business city like Shanghai, where people tend to be more short-term oriented. Once the Olympics come closer people will get more excited, and I am sure they will all be proud of ‘their’ Olympics, which likely will be the biggest and best ever.

On TV you see quite some programs about the Olympics already. Showing events from past Olympic Games, or giving updates on how far ahead schedule the construction of all the stadiums is. But these are mainly on CCTV (airing from Beijing) and local Beijing TV stations.

I think that in the last months before the Olympics all Chinese consumer brands will embrace the Olympic theme. Maybe not by using the Olympic logo, but at least by airing TV commercials that are linked to top sports. Some have already started doing this, and also some websites see this as a good way to increase traffic. I just read for example that internet companies Ourgame and Gamlaxy are being investigated for trademark infringement. They were selling in-game virtual items with the Beijing Olympics name and logo on it in one of their multiplayer online games, which is not allowed.

Normally intellectual property (IP) is very difficult to protect in China, and especially so when it is virtual IP, but the Beijing Olympics seem to be sacred. The two companies started their illegal activity less than a week ago, and now they are already under investigation – probably a record.

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