A wild ride. That's how one might describe Plastics News' first full year of publishing in China.
With the broadcast of last week's ``PN China eWeekly'' newsletter, Plastics News marked the anniversary of the launch of its first full broadcast on June 6, 2005, amid sharply growing traffic on its companion www.plasticsnews.com/China Web site, which quickly is approaching a quarter-million page views per month.
We continue to broadcast about 18,000 copies of the electronic newsletter each week, with more than 78 percent of those delivered in Chinese, and the balance going to readers worldwide, in English. Our China site's Web traffic has skyrocketed, from just over 4,000 total visitor sessions and 13,500 page views in our first full month online, to more than 63,700 visitor sessions and nearly 230,000 page views this past May alone. Following our exhibit exposure at the big Chinaplas show in Shanghai in late April, those numbers jumped by 20 and 31 percent, respectively, just from April to May.
But the growing reader numbers are merely following the content. Being part of Detroit-based Crain Communications Inc., a 90-year-old, 1,000-employee, family-owned business publisher, has provided PN with significant resources to build the brand. We've refined our translation and editing process, and stepped up our marketing efforts in China - to include plans to exhibit at the APPlas 2006 trade show in Beijing in mid-August, and again at Chinaplas 2007 in Guangzhou next May.
PN has hired a full-time Chinese reporter in its Akron, Ohio, headquarters and secured three correspondents in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. These moves have allowed us to improve our coverage vastly. Our reporters have attended more than a dozen trade shows and conferences across the region, including in Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and on the mainland, from Beijing to Guangzhou.
The publication has strong U.S. roots, anchored by 17-plus years of producing a weekly plastics business newspaper and a decade of daily online news reporting. And if, as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then some Chinese publishers like us a lot. More than one Chinese-language Web site routinely rips off our copyrighted stories - sometimes to include even photos, captions and headlines - on a regular basis, usually stripping out any bylines or references to Plastics News in the process. We will pursue all available legal remedies, but in the meantime, just remember that many of those stories began with our original reporting.
In the past two years or so, we have learned much about the Chinese market, its players, its cultures and its ways of doing business. We are forging relationships, building our brand and preparing for the next logical steps in Plastics News' growth in Asia. The efforts of many have helped us gain traction in one of the world's fastest-growing markets, and we're just getting started.
Those we want to thank most, though, are you, our readers. Stay with us, grow with us.
Robert Grace is editor and associate publisher of Plastics News.