China Paradigms interviewed Simon Vericel, the founder and CEO of Influence Matters, a leading PR agency specialized in B2B tech in China, to learn how to create an effective public relations strategy in China for tech companies.
Simon Vericel, a PR expert with expertise in B2B tech in China
Simon Vericel holds two Bachelor’s Degrees in Business, one from NEOMA Business School in France and one from the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. After graduation, he joined the Hill+Knowlton Strategies China, a global PR agency, and has been responsible for its China Global practices for more than 6 years.
In 2011, Simon switched to Racepoint Global and was promoted to the Vice President and General Manager of its Beijing office, during which he successfully turned the company into a premier agency providing public relations strategies in China.
With a huge interest in B2B tech in China, in 2015, Simon founded his own PR agency, Influence Matters, primarily assisting tech companies with their public relations strategies in China. In the same year, in order to promote a stronger China France relation, Simon initiated French Tech Beijing, a community of French entrepreneurs who are active in B2B tech in China.
Influence Matters: Creating influence for innovators through an effective public relations strategy in China
As a tech geek, Simon has always been passionate about the B2B tech in China, which lead him to found Influence Matters, a specialized PR agency for tech companies. Influence Matters strives to provide innovative and comprehensive public relations strategies in China for businesses to maximize their presence, both offline and online.
Influence Matters primarily serves companies in B2B tech in China, especially startups and SME businesses. With a clear understanding of what their clients want to achieve in China, Simon and his team are able to help them build unique public relations strategies in China tailored to their audience.
According to Simon, the biggest difference between PR and marketing lies in the communication strategy these two functions use. “Marketing and advertising are direct communications with the consumers, while a public relations strategy in China uses third-party channels,” explained by Simon.
Therefore, to build awareness for clients, Simon and his team always start with communication strategies. They put all the materials about the company together and prepare a press kit that will be distributed to the press. At the same time, they also help clients with digital marketing in China on different social media channels, including WeChat, Baidu Baike, Weibo, etc.
B2B tech in China is still an untapped market
Other than his interests, another reason that Simon decides to focus his businesses in B2B tech in China is that there are still a lot of undiscovered opportunities in this industry.
“B2B tech in China is just where we should provide public relations strategies, because it is a huge market in China, and there is much less competition than in B2C.”
To further prove his point, Simon mentioned some verticals in B2B tech in China that is still an untapped land for foreign entrepreneurs in China to develop business. For example, because of China’s rapid development in the 5G network, there is an increasing need for implanted chips in mobile devices. As a result, the semiconductor industry in China becomes an area that has a lot of opportunities for foreign companies.
French Tech Beijing: building stronger China France relations
Besides providing public relations strategies in China, being a French himself, Simon is enthusiastic about consolidating ties between China and France through tech entrepreneurs in both countries. In 2015, he founded the Beijing chapter of the French Tech to support China France relations on international commerce.
“Our goal is to promote French innovation in the global market, create a community of French tech entrepreneurs in China, and connect them with local businesses,” said Simon.
With his more than 14 years’ experience in B2B tech in China, Simon has discovered many similarities between the business ecosystem in these two countries, especially in artificial intelligence. For instance, the universities in both countries put great emphasis on developing talents of software engineering and algorithms. Moreover, China’s ongoing trade war with the U.S. opens a new door for China France relations by providing more opportunities for leveraging B2B tech in China.
“We are just a group of people that love innovations and B2B tech in China and France at the same time.”