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By the time Brett Ratner‘s Hercules: The Thracian Wars hits Chinese theaters sometime next year, he’ll have a new way to reach the country’s legions of cinemagoers on the other side of the Great Firewall — thanks to a new startup called Mingyian.
The service, which aims for a fall launch with $500,000 in seed funding from director M. Night Shyamalan, RRE Ventures, Ben Parr‘s #DominateFund, Foley Ventures and China energy company executive Eric Yao, bills itself as a brand management startup, with the goal of connecting celebrities’ social media efforts in the U.S. with China’s 600 million online users — the largest wired audience in the world.
The company says its platform will give Western stars the ability to host interactive real-time online events for a Chinese audience. It will also utilize data on a given star’s current reach in the Chinese online space and target its digital branding and marketing strategies accordingly, leveraging relationships with other Internet leaders in China, including Sina Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) and Youku Toudou (China’s YouTube).
Whereas turning tweets and Facebook posts into Weibo missives through a hired translator would take up to 15 minutes per social media message, Mingyian says their integrated software (which is still under construction) can do that in less than 60 seconds.
“There’s a myth that China’s a cash cow — that you can come, plug yourself in … and just because you’re famous in one country you’ll be famous in another,” says Rebecca Eydeland, the company’s president and co-founder alongside Jenny Bai. “That’s not the case. If you show that country that you want to connect with an audience there and build a career there … you’ll achieve results faster because China is wired unlike any other market.”
“But that’s only for a person who understands the market,” she adds.
Apart from Shyamalan and Ratner, former NBA star Gilbert Arenas, hip-hop artist Warren G, and Paula Abdul, have signed on to use Mingyian’s service. The company says it will be actively recruiting talent with an interest in and connection to the Chinese market up until its fall debut.
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