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Catching the Eye of China's Elite

Focus Media's ubiquitous video screens have transformed the urban, upscale marketing landscape

Marvels ancient and modern will greet visitors to the Olympics in Beijing this summer: the Great Wall, the Forbidden City...the constant barrage of digital advertising. No matter where you go in urban China these days—elevators, airports, karaoke bars, hospitals—it's hard to avoid video screens selling the latest product from Pepsi, Motorola (MOT), KFC (YUM), and so on.

The company most responsible for this sensory assault is Focus Media Holding. And the man behind Focus is Jason Jiang, a 35-year-old entrepreneur who in five years has built his advertising network into a Nasdaq-listed company worth $6 billion-plus. In the process, Jiang has become very rich (estimated net worth: $1.8 billion) and, in the words of Procter & Gamble (PG) brand manager Alfonso de Dios, has "transformed China's advertising landscape." In a nation where targeting niches and measuring eyeballs remain a grope in the dark, advertisers increasingly see Focus' 190,000 screens in 90 cities as their best chance to reach upscale urbanites.