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There is no podcasting in China. And why?

Innovation British Design Council weighs in. |


| Innovation vs. design blah blah.

December 01, 2005

There is no podcasting in China. And why?

Bruce Nussbaum

I moderated a terrific panel discussion with the folks from and in Beijing today and I discovered there is no podcasting in China. Wow. At the conference on Design for the new China Markets, Yu Guo, chief user experience designer (ex Netscape, AOL, eBay and PayPal) for Baidu, the biggest search engine in China, Don Liang, VP of marketing for marketing and ex-TV stgar, Ben Tsiang, co founder of, the largest Chinese website in North America and precursor to, china's biggest portal and Xinli Zhao, director of user interface and user experience for Sina, all agreed that there was no podcasting going on in China.

Why? Well, the euphemisms were flying but it came down to the authorities not being able to control podcasting--as yet. And without the authorities in China, not much gets gone on the web or in the economy. Of course, when the authorities do back something, like building roads and airports, it gets done pronto. When it doesn' doesn't get done.

09:57 AM


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It would seem to me, just from what I've been reading that in China's case, it's a highly likely possibility that while design, innovation et al are going to be championed and become "the next big thing" from China, the bottom line remains that if freedom of thought, originality and inventiveness are dependent on formal approval processes, that will be a big firecracker to go off with a whimper rather than a bang.

Jagdish Bhagwati has referred to issues like these (china's authorities) and other geopolitical features that point towards global comparative advantage rather than the competitive advantage orientation of Friedman's Flat world theory. IMHO, the day the authorities get to approve podcasting in the Bay Area or NYC, then we have a comparative problem.

I believe you've just articulated, in a fashion, one of the main reasons the US has indeed managed to stay ahead of the innovation curve.

Posted by: Niti Bhan at December 1, 2005 08:07 PM

Is there really no podcasting in China? A simple search on Google resulted in a whole list of podcasts from China, including several from Shanghai, and even a few podcasting websites ( and And that is without me knowing any Chinese. It looks like there are a lot more.

Posted by: Mark Vanderbeeken at December 1, 2005 10:39 PM

I agree with Niti Bhan. In addition, I just came back from Hong Kong where I participated in a Business of Design Week conference. We were told that 10,000 people a day were in attendance at one of its events or another. There was a concurrent conference about 'Brand' and a one day event focused on design education in Asia. Yes, in Hong Kong too the government, business and some educational institutions are talking about design, but that doesn't equal understanding. I have very mixed feelings about all this hoopla about design and where it will lead to in Hong Kong, as I was not in Beijing. The problem I saw was that the points of view of the presenters were all over the place and there was no guiding point of view, like that of Patrick Whitney's to make sense of what was being delivered to quite a diverse audience. Raising the profile of design can't hurt, but it is not enough.

Posted by: RitaSue Siegel at December 3, 2005 02:30 PM

Read this article by chance and totally cannot agree with your view point.

While i am the founder of, the first & biggest Chinese Podcast Directory site. According to our data, there are near 20,000 podcaster and near 60,000 podcast already.

However, i agree with some of your points like the the authorities in China. However, it does not means there is no Podcasting in China, it will make Chinese Podcast present in other contents like jokes, amusement, etc. And that is what can be proven by podlook's data

u can ping me if u want to get more info

Posted by: Jack at January 10, 2006 03:55 PM

Huh? I think I have to strongly disagree with no podcasting statement. just celebrated its first anniversary. Traffic wise it is bigger then the biggest US based podcasting sites.....

NO where does that come from then?



Posted by: Marcel Ekkel at April 24, 2006 05:58 PM

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